Scotch broomBotanical name: Cytisus...


April 27, 1991|By Amalie Adler Ascher

Scotch broom

Botanical name: Cytisus scoparius

Pronunciation: SIT-is-us

Family: Leguminosae (pea)

Origins: Europe, Asia, Africa

Class: Shrub

Display period: May, June

Height: 5 to 6 feet

Environment: Full sun As a curiosity in the garden, and one that thrives in poor soil with glowing yellow blossoms that are as showy as all get-out, Scotch broom has few, if any, rivals. Virtually leafless, with small, barely perceptible foliage, this shrub nevertheless provides year-round verdancy in the evergreen color of its bare branches.

Photosynthesis -- and other life processes most plants carry on through their leaves -- is conducted by Scotch broom in its green stems that embody the green matter and water pores normally found in foliage.

In days of yore, broom branches bundled and tied to a stout stick made a sweeping tool. Viewed naturally on a plant, however, the strands are not stiff and straw-like at all, but willowy and supple, a wonderful material for curling and shaping into curves in flower arrangements. In fact, scoparius, the plant's species name, means broom-like.

Given well-drained or sandy soil under sunny skies, or even a perch on a rocky bank, Scotch broom can pretty much get along on its own. Insects don't bother it, although blight or leaf spot may do it in. Young container nursery plants are easier to establish than large ones. Plants self-seed, or they may be propagated by cuttings.

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