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A gorse-like shrub common on dry, acid soils including heaths flowering from April to July.


Broom: a clean sweep

Post date: Thursday, 10 September, 2015 - 00:00

Broom (Cytisus scoparius) is very much like a spineless gorse and you could be forgiven for dismissing it as gorse at first glance. Both are members of the pea family and have bright yellow pea-shaped flowers but that is where the similarity ends. They may be related but not closely; broom has no spines, it has totally smooth stems without even any hairs. Its stems are green all year round and it has tiny leaves which none if the gorses have. Broom looks as if it is evergreen but technically it is not, it does shed its leaves but because the stems stay green it gives the impression of being an evergreen shrub.

Out on the heaths from April until July it is common on dry, acid soils across the British Isles. On the Dorset heaths it tends to be patchy but where it does grow it is likely to be very common. It can be one of the first species to colonise an area affected by fire. On hot sunny days in August (if we get any) you can hear the snap of the seed pods as they dry out and burst open to throw the seeds far and wide.

Finally, why is it called broom? Yes, the obvious answer is the right one. It was once commonly used to make besoms or brooms.


The records for this species have been organised into reports, charts, maps and photos. Click a pic below to see the detail:

Sites List Distribution Map Some Charts Some Photographs Original Tweets Relatives Guidance Notes
Common Name Broom
Scientific Name Cytisus scoparius
Family Pea family - Leguminosae
Status Local
Interest Level
Species Family Pea Family - Fabaceae
Flower Colour Group Yellow
  • 04 - April
  • 05 - May
  • 06 - June
Preferred Environment
Look for A gorse-like flower without spines
Additional Identification Notes

This species is often found in these habitats:

Habitat(s) Relationship
H1: Dry Heath Indicator
SM: Mixed Scrub Associated