An introduction to the biogeography and ecology of broom (Cytisus scoparius) in Australia

J.M.B. Smith, School of Human and Environmental Studies, University of New England, Armidale, New South Wales 2351, Australia.


Broom (Cytisus scoparius (L.) Link), a shrub with several uses in its native Europe, was first introduced to Australia in about 1800 and has now become widely established at many places in moist, cool temperate regions. Single populations are probably rather uniform, but there are genetic variations between populations reflecting multiple introductions. Herbivores, both native and released in a biocontrol program, have so far had little impact. At Barrington Tops (New South Wales), the largest Australian infestation, undisturbed stands in eucalypt woodland expand at c. 0.5 m per year. Seed dispersal by animals, vehicles or other agents leads to establishment of new, distant populations. Older plants become prostrate, with thinning eventually leading to patchy regeneration. Major disturbance results in massive regeneration. Broom may have substantial ecological impacts upon regeneration of overstorey trees, survival of understorey plants, and fauna.


Plant Protection Quarterly (2000) 15 (4) 140-144.