Spartium junceum
Common Name: Spanish broom 
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Fabaceae
Native Range: Southwestern Europe, Mediterranean
Zone: 8 to 10
Height: 5.00 to 10.00 feet
Spread: 5.00 to 10.00 feet
Bloom Time: July to September
Bloom Description: Yellow
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Fruit: Showy
Tolerate: Drought, Erosion

Culture

Winter hardy to USDA Zones 8-10 where it can be grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils in full sun. Good drought tolerance. Best in full sun. Tolerates poor rocky soils (good bank cover). Invasiveness is primarily due to self-seeding.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Spartium junceum, commonly called Spanish broom, is a multi-stemmed, sparsely-leaved, deciduous shrub that is typically found in dry areas, open woodlands, disturbed sites and along roads in the Mediterranean area (southern Europe to northern Africa). It has escaped gardens and naturalized in California, Oregon, Washington and Hawaii. Where winter hardy, it typically grows to 6-10' tall. It is primarily grown for its bright yellow flowers and cylindrical green stems. Young stems are rush-like, bright green and basically leafless. Older stems will develop a woody bark. Stems branch at the top, with flowers appearing in showy racemes. Flowers (to 1" long) are bright yellow, pea-shaped and fragrant. Flowers bloom July to frost. Flowers are followed by flat seed pods (each to 3" long). Linear to lanceolate leaves (to 1" long) are bright green. Leaves are small in size, quite sparse in number and ephemeral (each leaf lasts about 4 months). Considerable photosynthesis occurs in the young green stems.

Genus name comes from the Greek word spartion for a kind of grass used in weaving and cordage.

Specific epithet means rush-like.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Can spread invasively to crowd out native plants. It is considered a noxious weed in Hawaii and Washington and a "B" designated weed in Oregon.

Garden Uses

Where winter hardy, it makes an interesting addition to garden areas. It also can also provide good erosion control on slopes or hilly areas.