This tall member of the pea family blooms at its best from April to June, although there are some species that continue flowering until August.
The White Goddess The Pendle Witches 1612-2012

Broom - Herborium - The White Goddess

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Saturday, 14 December 2019




(Cytisus scoparius)


This tall member of the pea family blooms at its best from April to June, although there are some species that continue flowering until August. A common and fast growing but short-lived shrub which produces abundant yellow flowers in summer.

Its much branched stems are green and ridged with long divisions carrying small alternate leaves that are simple or trifoliate, with untoothed leaflets.  Trifoliate leaves with rich yellow 20mm (3/4in) flowers, seeds in hairy pea like thin pods which explode on sunny days during the autumn.

Size: Grows up to 2m tall.

Distribution: Throughout the UK.

Flowering months: May to June

Habitat: Heaths, open woodland, clearings, scrub.

Folk Names: Scotch Broom and French Broom, also known as Saromanthus scoparius


Commonly known as a magic shrub from which it was believed fairies often spoke from.  Its upright dense mass of ascending stems were once cut and made into floor brooms.  Broom has been used for thatching, fence rows and cattle fodder. The woody plant was once used for tanning leather and the old wood for veneering. Cloth has been manufactured with the fiber.

Traditionally the Celts were a nomadic people. They camped on one place throughout the cold winter months, and would break camp in the spring when the first yellow blooms appeared on the broom. Although it has associations with spring, broom stands for the month of October in the Ogham Calendar. (Ng~NgEtal~Reed or Broom)

Medical Indications: Parts Used : root, leaves, juice

An infusion of the leaves was used as a diuretic. Bark shavings were used to stanch blood in the 14th century. An unguent was made from the blossoms. The tops of broom were put in beer to give it a bitter taste. Some people have used the seeds to "adulterate" coffee. The flowers in bud are pickled like capers. It is cathartic and the seeds emetic. 

A decoction of young branches and seeds can be used to treat malaria, gout and painful joints. Oil drawn from the stems (by heating them over and open fire,) can be used to treat toothaches, and for the removal parasites such as lice.

(Photograph taken 12/04/2003 ©2003 Ryewolf)

Please be aware that this information is provided solely for informational purposes only. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to using any herbs or treatments made from herbs.

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