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French broom (Genista monspessulana (L.) L.Johnson)
ODA rating: B and T
 
USDA Symbol: GEMO2
Oregon French 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 three to ten feet tall. Evergreen shrub similar to Scotch broom except plants do not grow as erect, leaves are retained the entire year, leaves trifoliate and more numerous, and yellow flowers smaller.

Impacts
This plant, an aggressive pioneer species, takes advantage of land disturbances to establish and spread. In California, large infestations displace native plant species and significantly increase the costs of reforestation in commercial timberlands. During the dry summer months, thick stands create a severe fire hazard by providing an avenue for ground fire to reach into forest canopies and spread. Annual costs for right-of-way maintenance on roadways, powerlines, and private property reach millions of dollars a year because of the persistant nature of this species. The brooms are also unpalatable to most livestock, and anecdotal evidence indicates that they may be slightly toxic.
 
Distribution in Oregon
First documented site in Oregon was 1924 in Curry County.

Biological controls
Bruchidius villosus