Scotch Broom

Scotch Broom (Cytisus scoparius)

Scotch BroomBACKGROUND: is native to Europe and was likely introduced as an ornamental. It spreads by seed and inhabits well-drained sites over a wide range of precipitation regimes. Several commercial varieties of Scotch broom are not considered noxious. Check with your local weed control superintendent to determine if your plants are designated noxious.

DESCRIPTION: Scotch broom is a woody perennial species up to 10 feet tall. Leaves are mostly trifoliate with ½ inch long, alfalfa-like leaflets. Stems are strongly angled and dark green, with branches that spread only slightly from the main stem. Flowers are bright yellow, pea-like, 1 inch in length, and borne in the leaf axils during June. Brown seed pods are smooth (except for hair along the margins), flattened, and contain several beanlike seeds, which are thrown some distance as the pods snap open at maturity.

Scotch BroomDISTRIBUTION: Scotch broom is widespread along both coasts and has been introduced in northern Idaho primarily.

CONTROL: Biological control agents (a twig mining moth, a seed weevil, and a shoot tip moth) are available for control of Scotch broom, but have not proved effective in Idaho. Herbicides are available that can control this weed.Scotch Broom.

Scotch Broom Distribution Map - Grey Area


© 1999 University of Idaho: Text and photographs for these pages from Idaho’s Noxious Weeds, by Robert H. Callihan and Timothy W. Miller (revised by Don W. Morishita and Larry W. Lass).

Please contact: Ag Publishing, University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho 83844-2240; (208) 882-7982; [email protected]; or visit the UI Extension/CALS Publications and Multimedia Catalog website at, for more information about this or other publications.