Family: Fabaceae
Common names: Scotch broom, skotse brem, common broom
Category: proposed 1a NEMBA, 1 CARA

Cytisus scoparius

Cytisus scoparius L. is a perennial shrub of 1-3 m tall, with main stems up to 50 mm thick, rarely 100 mm. Leaves alternate, hairy, trifoliate, 5-15 mm long. Flowers yellow. Pods mature black, 20-30 mm long, 8 mm broad and 2-3 mm thick. The pod dehisce with an audible crack, dispersing the seed away from the parent plant. Flowering time: late summer.

Cytisus scoparius

Scotch broom is native to Western and Central Europe and is invasive in California, North America, Australia and New Zealand.

History in South Africa
The species was introduced to South Africa for ornamental purposes. It has been recorded in Eastern Cape in Hogsback area including Hogsback Forest  Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal (south west of Escourt at Ulundi, Nottingham Road to Loteni, Underberg to Swartberg and Highmoor Forest station) and in Free State in Van Reenen.

Environmental and economic impacts
Scotch broom is aggressive and competes with native species, reducing recruitment of seedlings and growth of native species in open forest areas. It mainly invades grassland and forest margins especially on the lower slopes of the Drakensberg in KwaZulu-Natal. It also invades disturbed areas and woodland.

How it spreads 
Scotch broom spreads mainly by seeds.

How to manage
There are no registered herbicides for this species in South Africa. It is currently controlled by cutting.

What can you do to help?
Report sightings of these plants to the Early Detection and Rapid Response 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 Mash
Email address:
Tel: 021 799 8743

Thulisile Jaca


  • Southern African Botanical Diversity Network. Invasive alien plants in Southern Africa. Available online at:
  • South African plants invaders atlas database. ARC – Plant protection research institute, Pretoria, South Africa. Available on at:
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