Genista monspessulana

Family: Fabaceae
Common name: French broom, Cape broom, Montpellier broom.
Category: 1a NEMBA, 1 CARA

Genista monospessulana


Genista monspessulana (L.) L. A.S. Johnson, is an evergreen shrub, 1-3 m tall. Stems erect, slender and hairy. Leaves hairy, trifoliate with three leaflets. Inflorescence dense in short racemes; flowers yellow. Flowering time: Summer. Pods densely hairy. 


French broom is native to the Mediterranean region, Azores and is naturalised in Australia, New Zealand and North America. This plant is also naturalised in UK, South America and Hawaii.


History in South Africa

In South Africa, French broom has been recorded in the Western Cape at Newlands and Orangezicht, Ida’s Valley, Cape Peninsula and in Mpumalanga at Dullstroom. It was introduced to South Africa for ornamental purposes.

Environmental and economic impact

French broom invades forest margins, coastal scrub, can shade out tree seedlings in reforested areas and can exclude other native plants. This species can also invade disturbed areas, mountains slopes, water courses and open canopy forests.

How it spreads

Genista monspessulana spreads mainly by seeds that are dispersed by birds and ants. It can also resprout from root crown after cuttings or grazing.

How to eradicate

French broom is currently controlled by uprooting. There are no herbicides registered for use on this species in South Africa.

What you can do to help

Report sightings of this plant to the Invasive Species Programme (EDRR) at SANBI. We will need to know its locality (the exact locality, supply any landmarks or GPS information if possible).

Contact person
Alex Marsh
Email address:
Tel: 021 799 8404


Pieter  Botha © University of Stellenbosch


  • California Invasive Plants Council. Genista monspessulana (French broom). Available online at: Accessed on 2014, August 19
  • South African plants invaders atlas database. ARC- Plant protection research institute, Pretoria, South Africa
  • Zouhar, Kris. 2005. Genista monspessulana. In: Fire Effects Information System. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available on line at: Accessed on 2014, August 19.

See more on invasive plants and their categories

Prepared by Thulisile Jaca
August 2014

Last updated on 06 October 2014
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