Cytisus scoparius

Cytisus scoparius_scotch broom_flowers_JM DiTomaso
Photo courtesy Joseph DiTomaso

Synonyms: Sarathamnus scoparius, Spartium scoparius

Common names: Scotch broom; English broom; common broom

Cytisus scoparius (Scotch broom) is a perennial shrub (family Fabaceae), which grows in sunny sites with dry sandy soil, and spreads rapidly through pastures, borders of forests,  and roadsides. Cytisus scoparius can be found from the coast to the Sierra foothills. This weed crowds out native species, has a seedbank that can remain dormant for up to 80 years, diminishes habitat for grazing animals, and increases risk for wildland fires.

Rating: High

Cal-IPC Resources

  • Plant Assessment Form - Information gathered by Cal-IPC on the impacts, rate of spread, and distribution of invasive plants in California. Does not include management information.
  • CalWeedMapper - Statewide maps, climate models, and reports.
  • Cal-IPC News - Our quarterly newsletter. Each issue is available as a pdf.
  • Cal-IPC Symposium Proceedings - Presentations and papers from our annual Symposium.
  • Don't Plant a Pest! - Select your region to find non-invasive alternatives to ornamental species. Also see our statewide brochure on trees.

Other Resources

  • USDA PLANTS database -
    Federal database with information on identification and distribution, and links to websites in individual states.
  • Jepson Online Interchange for California Flora - Information on taxonomy, biology, and distribution from the UC Berkeley Jepson Herbarium.
  • CalFlora - Distribution information by county based on submitted observations and herbarium specimens.
  • Encycloweedia - California Department of Food and Agriculture.
  • CalPhotos - Images of plants taken mostly in California.
  • Natural Resource Projects Inventory - State database with information on resource management projects throughout California. Query by the species of interest.

Symposium Presentations

  • Haubensak, K. A., I. M. Parker, et al. (2010). Testing efficacy of control methods of the invasive shrub Cytisus scoparius in forest habitat of the Pacific Northwest. Cal-IPC 2010 Symposium. Ventura, CA, California Invasive Plant Council
  • Oneto, S., J. M. DiTomaso, et al. (2005). Control of Scotch broom (Cytisus scoparius). California Invasive Plant Council Symposium 2005. Chico, CA.
  • Connick, S. and M. Gerel (2004). Partnering to prevent invasions of plants of horticultural origin. California Invasive Plant Council Symposium 2004. Ventura, CA.
  • Corbin, J. D. and C. M. D'Antonio (2003). Too much of a good thing: Restoration of native biodiversity following soil nitrogen enrichment. California Invasive Plant Council Symposium 2003. Kings Beach, CA.
  • Donaldson, S., W. West, et al. (2003). Getting the job done: Working within the regulatory environment at Lake Tahoe to manage weeds. California Invasive Plant Council Symposium 2003. Kings Beach, CA.
  • Pickart, A. (2003). A decade of dune restoration at the Lanphere Dunes. California Invasive Plant Council Symposium 2003. Kings Beach, CA.
  • Alexander, J. M. F. and C. M. D'Antonio (2000). Factors affecting successful control of French and Scotch broom and restoration of native communities in coastal California grasslands. California Exotic Pest Plant Council Symposium 2000. Concord, CA.
  • Cooper, V. K. and B. J. Moritsch (1999). Weeding the wilderness: Non-native plant management at Point Reyes National Seashore. California Exotic Pest Plant Council Symposium '99. Sacramento, CA.
  • Archbald, G. (1998). Mechanical control methods: beyond weed bashing. California Exotic Pest Plant Council Symposium '98. Ontario, CA.
  • Roja, D. and J. Popenoe (1998). Fire effects on first-year Scotch broom in Redwood National and state parks. California Exotic Pest Plant Council Symposium '98. Ontario, CA.
  • DiTomaso, J. M. (1995). Overview of extension non-crop weed research in California. California Exotic Pest Plant Council Symposium '95. J. Lovich, J. Randall and M. Kelly. Pacific Grove, CA.

Cal-IPC News Articles

  • Brusati, E., D. Morawitz, et al. (2011). Prioritizing Regional Response to Invasive Plants in the Sierra Nevada. Cal-IPC News. 19: 4, 5, 10.
  • Lorenson, L. (2010). Nevada County Scotch Broom Challenge. Cal-IPC News. 18: 6.
  • (2006). Recommended action on invasive ornamentals. Cal-IPC News. 14: 10.
  • Taylor, M. (2005). Scotch broom lopping trial. Cal-IPC News. 13: 9-10.
  • Richardson, B. (2004). An army of one: One man's fight against broom in Tilden Park. Cal-IPC News. 12: 12.
  • Donaldson, S. (2003). Fighting weeds in the Tahoe basin. CalEPPC News. 11: 7.
  • (2001). International broom initiative: A comprehensive broom and gorse biological control effort. CalEPPC News. 9: 3-6.
  • Pitcairn, M. (2000). All weeds that have approved biological control agents, accidental introductions and others. CalEPPC News. 8.
  • (1999). Richmond weed abatement ordinance. CalEPPC News. 7: 10.
  • Fry, V. (1998). Fort Ord readies the troops for war - on weeds! CalEPPC News. 6: 4-5,8.
  • Madison, J. (1996). Highways as corridors of dispersal. CalEPPC News. 4: 9.
  • Griffith, Q. (1995). Marin supervisors establish policy against non-natives. CalEPPC News. 3: 11.
  • (1994). Exotic pest plants of greatest ecological concern in California September 1994. CalEPPC News. 2: 10.
  • (1993). California Exotic Pest Plant Council draft list exotic plants of greatest concern October 1993. CalEPPC News. 1: 6.