Common name:Spanish broom
Scientific name:Spartium junceum
Alternative common names:
Spaanse besem (Afrikaans)
A reed-like shrub up to 2,5m high with long, slender, cylindrical green branches and almost leafless. Leaves are blue-green, silky beneath, and deciduous. Fragrant yellow flowers are borne in terminal clusters 30-40cm long from August to November. Fruits are flattened brown pods to 75mm long initially covered with white silky hairs. This plant is poisonous.
Where does this species come from?Europe, particularly the Mediterranean region.
What is its invasive status in South Africa?CARA 2002 – Category 1 NEMBA – a. 1b in Eastern Cape and Western Cape. b. 3 in Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, North-West and Northern Cape.
Where in South Africa is it a problem?Eastern and Western Cape, Gauteng, Mpumalanga
How does it spread?Seed dispersal.
Why is it a problem?Competes with and replaces indigenous species. Reduces grazing potential of the land. Poisonous.
What does it look like?General description: A reed-like, multi-stemmed shrub growing up to 2,5m in height. Leaves: Leaves are blue-green, silky beneath, and deciduous. Flowers: Fragrant yellow flowers are borne in terminal clusters 30-40cm long from August to November. Fruit/seeds: Fruits are flattened brown pods to 75mm long initially covered with white silky hairs.
Does the plant have any uses?Ornament, hedging.
Plant me instead alternatives
Cape honeysuckle (Tecoma capensis), honey euryops (Euryops virgineus), rattlepod/canary-bird bush (Crotalaria capensis), bush-tick berry (Chrysanthemoides monilifera), Natal laburnum (Calpurnia aurea).