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Spanish broom (Spartium junceum)
ODA rating: B
 
USDA Symbol: SPJU2
Oregon Spanish broom distribution
 
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Images courtesy of Ken French, Oregon Dept. of Agriculture

 
 
If images are downloaded and used from the ODA web site please be sure to credit the photographer.
 
Description
Perennial; blooms April to June. Grows 3 to 10 ft tall. Similar to Scotch broom except stems thicker and rougher, it has very few leaves, and flowers larger and fewer in number.
 
Impacts
The least abundant of weedy brooms in Oregon, Spanish broom is adapted to dryer sites where its lack of leaves and thick waxy stems resist dessication. Like other broom species, it offers strong competition to other plants and contributes to increased maintenance costs on lands where it becomes established. Dry summer plants create a severe fire hazard. Just like other brooms, spanish broom is unpalatable to most livestock. Seeds can remain viable in soil for more than 80 years.
 
Introduction
Spanish broom is a native of the Mediterranean regions. It was sold as an ornamental in California in the mid-1800s.

 
Distribution in Oregon
First site documented in Oregon was 1922 in Marion County.

 
Biological controls
One approved biocontrol agent, a beetle who feeds on seeds in the larval stage and pollen in the adult stage, has become established in Oregon but is threatened by a parasitic wasp.