Cape broom (Genista monspessulana)

Also known as: Montpellier broom

Cape broom is an evergreen, perennial shrub. Introduced as a hedging plant, it is now a major weed of bushlands, pastures and roadsides across southern Australia.

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How does this weed affect you?

Cape broom is an evergreen, perennial shrub that was introduced to Australia as an ornamental garden plant and hedge. It prefers temperate climates with an annual rainfall over 500 mm and is now a major weed of bushlands, pastures and roadsides across southern Australia.

Where is it found?

Cape broom is native to the Mediterranean region, Portugal and the Azores. It is considered a major weed in many countries, including New Zealand, Chile, South Africa and the USA.

In New South Wales, Cape broom is an invasive weed of the southern and central tablelands, in particular the Blue Mountains and the Hawkesbury/Nepean catchment. It is also a problem in many northern Sydney areas and has smaller infestations located in the New England and South Coast regions.

How does it spread?

Cape broom reproduces from seed. Most spread is by soil movement and it is possible that graders and other roadside machinery have been responsible for spreading Cape broom along roadsides and into new areas. Animals may also contribute to dispersal. Plants begin to flower and produce seeds at two years of age. Seeds are hard-coated and can survive for many years in the soil. While germination usually occurs annually, major germination and survival events generally occur after fire or soil disturbance.

What does it look like?

Cape broom is an upright, perennial shrub growing to 3 m high. It usually has one main stem with many branches.

Key identification features

  • Young stems are ridged, green and lightly hairy, becoming woody and hairless with age.
  • Leaves are trifoliate (three-leaflets) on a central short stalk, with the centre leaflet being slightly longer than the outer two. Leaves are hairy mainly on their undersides, are oblong in shape and often end in a short point.
  • Flowers are bright yellow and pea-like. They are 8–12 mm long and grow at the ends of branches in clusters of 3 to 9. Flowering occurs from late winter to spring.    
  • Pods are hairy all over, brown to black in colour, 15–25 mm long and 3–5 mm wide. They contain 5–8 seeds.
  • Seeds are dark brown to black, up to 3 mm long, smooth, rounded and slightly flattened.

Acknowledgements

Adapted from CRC Weed Management Guide (2003) Cape broom (Genista monspessulana).

Reviewed by: Michael Michelmore; Edited by: Elissa van Oosterhout.

References

Hosking JR, Sainty GR, Jacobs SWL & Dellow LL (in prep) The Australian WeedBOOK.

Other publications

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Control

Cape broom can be mistaken for some native species. Correct identification is important and a local council weeds officer can assist with identification, removal and control if you suspect you have found Cape broom.

Biological control

Two biological control agents have a significant impact on Cape broom. The Cape broom psyllid (Artinnis hakani) and a seed weevil (Lepidapion sp.) can both give good control. 

Herbicide options

WARNING - ALWAYS READ THE LABEL
Users of agricultural or veterinary chemical products must always read the label and any permit, before using the product, and strictly comply with the directions on the label and the conditions of any permit. Users are not absolved from compliance with the directions on the label or the conditions of the permit by reason of any statement made or not made in this information. To view permits or product labels go to the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority website www.apvma.gov.au

See Using herbicides for more information.


Picloram 100 g/L + Triclopyr 300 g/L + Aminopyralid 8 g/L (Grazon Extra®)
Rate: 250 or 350 mL per 100 L water
Comments: Use higher rate on trees over 2m tall. Apply as a thorough foliar spray.
Withholding period: Where product is used to control woody weeds in pastures there is a restriction of 12 weeks for use of treated pastures for making hay and silage; using hay or other plant material for compost, mulch or mushroom substrate; or using animal waste from animals grazing on treated pastures for compost, mulching, or spreading on pasture/crops.
Herbicide group: I, Disruptors of plant cell growth (synthetic auxins)
Resistance risk: Moderate


Picloram 44.7 g/kg + Aminopyralid 4.47 g/L (Vigilant II ®)
Rate: Undiluted
Comments: Cut stump application. Apply a 3–5 mm layer of gel across the cut surface on the rhizome.
Withholding period: Nil.
Herbicide group: I, Disruptors of plant cell growth (synthetic auxins)
Resistance risk: Moderate


Triclopyr 300 g/L + Picloram 100 g/L (Grazon® DS)
Rate: 250 or 350 mL per 100 L of water
Comments: Spring to mid summer prior to pod formation. Apply as a thorough foliage spray.
Withholding period: Nil.
Herbicide group: I, Disruptors of plant cell growth (synthetic auxins)
Resistance risk: Moderate


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Biosecurity duty

The content provided here is for information purposes only and is taken from the Biosecurity Act 2015 and its subordinate legislation, and the Regional Strategic Weed Management Plans (published by each Local Land Services region in NSW). It describes the state and regional priorities for weeds in New South Wales, Australia.

Area Duty
All of NSW General Biosecurity Duty
All plants are regulated with a general biosecurity duty to prevent, eliminate or minimise any biosecurity risk they may pose. Any person who deals with any plant, who knows (or ought to know) of any biosecurity risk, has a duty to ensure the risk is prevented, eliminated or minimised, so far as is reasonably practicable.
All of NSW Prohibition on dealings
Must not be imported into the State or sold
Central Tablelands Regional Recommended Measure*
Land managers should mitigate the risk of new weeds being introduced to their land. Land managers should mitigate spread from their land.
Protect conservation areas and natural environments that are free of Cape broom
Murray Regional Recommended Measure*
Land managers should mitigate the risk of new weeds being introduced to their land. Land managers should mitigate spread from their land. Notify local control authority if found.
North Coast Regional Recommended Measure*
Land managers should mitigate the risk of new weeds being introduced to their land. The plant should be eradicated from the land and the land kept free of the plant. Notify local control authority if found.
North West
An exclusion zone is established for all lands in the region, except the core infestation area comprising all Local Government Areas east of the Newell Highway
Regional Recommended Measure*
Whole of region: The plant should not be bought, sold, grown, carried or released into the environment. Exclusion zone: Land managers should mitigate the risk of new weeds being introduced to their land; land managers should mitigate spread from their land; the plant should be eradicated from the land and the land kept free of the plant. Core infestation: Land managers reduce impacts from the plant on priority assets
Northern Tablelands Regional Recommended Measure*
Land managers should mitigate the risk of new weeds being introduced to their land. Land managers should mitigate spread from their land. The plant should not be bought, sold, grown, carried or released into the environment. Notify local control authority if found.
Riverina
Whole region excluding Snowy Valleys Council
Regional Recommended Measure*
Land managers should mitigate the risk of new weeds being introduced to their land. The plant should be eradicated from the land and the land kept free of the plant. Notify local control authority if found.
Riverina
Snowy Valleys Council
Regional Recommended Measure*
Land managers should mitigate the risk of new weeds being introduced to their land. Land managers should mitigate spread from their land.
South East
Core infestation: whole region except for the exclusion zone of Bega and Wingecarribee councils
Regional Recommended Measure*
Whole region: Land managers should mitigate the risk of new weeds being introduced to their land. Exclusion zone: The plant should be eradicated from the land and the land kept free of the plant.
*To see the Regional Strategic Weeds Management Plans containing demonstrated outcomes that fulfill the general biosecurity duty for this weed click here

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For technical advice and assistance with identification please contact your local council weeds officer.
For further information call the NSW Invasive Plants and Animals Enquiry Line on 1800 680 244 or send an email to weeds@dpi.nsw.gov.au

Reviewed 2017