Scotch Broom
Cytisus scopariusFabaceae
Whole Plant
Whole PlantFlowerFruitLeaf
Photos (c) Cheryl Comeau Beaton unless otherwise noted


  • Sarothamnus scoparius

The Plant:

  • A short perennial shrub, no more than 6.5 feet tall, with upright branches.

The Leaves:

  • upper surface dark green
  • lower surface lighter and pubescent
  • alternate
  • upper leaves sessile
  • simple
  • undivided
  • lower leaves small and trifoliate
  • obovate

The Stem:

  • branches green
  • stiff
  • slender
  • 5 angled
  • evergreen stems

The Flowers:

  • Most commonly bright yellow, with some cultivars pale yellow, pink, or red. Flowers are located in upper axils, either solitary or in pairs, in long terminal racemes. Blooms in late May or June.

The Fruits:

  • brownish pods
  • hairy margins
  • ripen late summer
  • seeds are small, multicolored (green, brown, dark brown, rust) and obovate to round

The Habitat:

  • coastal beaches, dunes
  • adapted to dry sandy soils
  • full sun
  • roadsides
  • pastures
  • dry scrubland


  • seeds are ejected from the plant when pods open
  • wind and water dispersal possible
  • also resprouts from cut stems

Key ID Features:

  • shrub
  • dark green upper, light green below
  • hairy lower surface
  • upper leaves sessile
  • 5 angled stems
  • stiff
  • bright yellow flowers

Similar Species:

  • Many cultivated varieties are available with a wide range of flower colors.


  • Scotch broom is planted for ornamental purposes and for dune stabilizing.
  • On Nantucket, there is one known large population at Madawi Creek, else plants are typically found in small groups.

Growth Form: Shrub

Origin: British Isles, Central Europe, Southern Europe

Level of Invasiveness for Nantucket: Likely Invasive

Level of Invasiveness for Massachusetts: Does not meet criteria

Massachusetts Cultivation Restrictions: no

Credits: The Electronic Field Guide to the Invasive Plants of Nantucket (c) 2005-2006 Maria Mitchell Association, EFG Project, UMass Boston