Scotch broom
Cytisus scoparius (L.) Link


Cytisus scoparius is a perennial shrub that grows on average from 3.3-9.8 ft. (1-3 m) tall, but can reach to 13 ft. (4 m). The stems are five-angled and remain green all year.
Leaves are small, alternate and compound with 3 leaflets. The leaves are often not noticeable, due to the dark green stems.
The flowers are bright yellow, resemble sweet pea flowers, and occur singly or in pairs in the upper leaf axils. They bloom from late May to June.
Seed pods are fuzzy on the edges, 1-2 in. (2.5-5 cm) long, and will explode when mature forcefully expelling the seeds. The seeds are small and multi-colored, ranging from green to brown to reddish brown.
Ecological Threat
Cytisus scoparius occurs along roadsides, coastal sites, disturbed sites, pastures, and dry scrubland. Its nitrogen fixing ability allows it to compete successfully on poor, dry, sandy soils. It grows well in full sun. It has been considered a pest weed since the 1920’s on the West Coast. Cytisus scoparius is native to western and central Europe. It was introduced into the United States as an ornamental in the early 1800s.


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EDDMapS Distribution

EDDMapS Distribution - This map is incomplete and is based only on current site and county level reports made by experts, herbaria, and literature. For more information, visit

State Regulated List

State Regulated List - This map identifies those states that list this species on their regulated list. For more information, visit

Taxonomic Rank

Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Subclass: Rosidae
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae (Leguminosae)
Genus: Cytisus
Subject: Cytisus scoparius (L.) Link

Synonyms and Other Names

Other Common Names:
Scottish broom, English broom, scotchbroom

Related Scientific Names:
Sarothamnus scoparius (L.) Link (Synonym)


Plants - Shrub or Subshrub