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.

Maps and records

  • Recorded presence of Cape broom during property inspections (Map: Biosecurity Information System - Weeds, 2017-2024)
    These records are made by authorised officers during property inspections under the Biosecurity Act 2015. Officers record the presence of priority weeds in their council area and provide this to the NSW Department of Primary Industries. Records reflect the presence of the weed on the date of inspection.

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.

References

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

More information

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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

Cape broom psyllid (Arytinnis hakani) is widely established throughout southern Australia. It feeds on the sap of cape broom, reducing its health, vigour and seed set. When populations of the psyllid build up they cause large sections of plants to die back, occasionally leading to shrub death.

This biocontrol agent is suitable for redistribution. Contact your local government weeds officer for information about using this biocontrol agent.

Chemical control

Spraying

Spray spring to mid-summer prior to pod formation.

Cut stump

Cut stems no higher than 100 mm above ground level then apply herbicide within 15 seconds. For stems under 20 mm in diameter, apply a 3-5 mm thick layer of herbicide gel over the cut surface remaining on the plant. For stems over 20 mm diameter, apply a 5 mm thick layer of gel. 

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: 4 (previously group I), Disruptors of plant cell growth (Auxin mimics)
Resistance risk: Moderate


Picloram 44.7 g/L + Aminopyralid 4.47 g/L (Vigilant II ®)
Rate: Undiluted
Comments: Cut stump application. Apply a 3–5 mm layer of gel for stems less than 20 mm diameter and a 5 mm layer on stems above 20 mm diameter.
Withholding period: Nil.
Herbicide group: 4 (previously group I), Disruptors of plant cell growth (Auxin mimics)
Resistance risk: Moderate


Triclopyr 300 g/L + Picloram 100 g/L (Various products)
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: 4 (previously group I), Disruptors of plant cell growth (Auxin mimics)
Resistance risk: Moderate


Triclopyr 600 g/L (Garlon® 600)
Rate: 170 mL per 100 L of water
Comments: Spray spring to mid-summer prior to pod formation.
Withholding period: Nil.
Herbicide group: 4 (previously group I), Disruptors of plant cell growth (Auxin mimics)
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 pest 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 certain dealings
Must not be imported into the state, sold, bartered, exchanged or offered for sale.
Central Tablelands
An exclusion zone is established for Cowra Shire Council and Mid-Western Regional Council areas. A core infestation area is established for Upper Macquarie County Council (Bathurst Regional Council, Blayney Council, Lithgow Council and Oberon Council), Orange City Council and Cabonne Council areas.
Regional Recommended Measure* (for Regional Priority - Containment)
Within exclusion zone: Land managers should mitigate the risk of the plant being introduced to their land. Land managers should eradicate the plant from the land and keep the land free of the plant. A person should not deal with the plant, where dealings include but are not limited to buying, selling, growing, moving, carrying or releasing the plant. Notify local control authority if found. Within core infestation area: Land managers should mitigate the risk of the plant being introduced to their land. Land managers should mitigate spread of the plant from their land. A person should not buy, sell, move, carry or release the plant into the environment. Land managers should reduce the impact of the plant on assets of high economic, environmental and/or social value.
Hunter Regional Recommended Measure* (for Regional Priority - Eradication)
Notify local control authority if found. Land managers should eradicate the plant from the land and keep the land free of the plant. A person should not deal with the plant, where dealings include but are not limited to buying, selling, growing, moving, carrying or releasing the plant.
Murray Regional Recommended Measure* (for Regional Priority - Eradication)
Land managers should mitigate the risk of new weeds being introduced to their land. Plant should not be bought, sold, grown, carried or released into the environment. Notify local control authority if found.
North Coast Regional Recommended Measure* (for Regional Priority - Eradication)
Land managers should mitigate the risk of the plant being introduced to their land. Land managers should eradicate the plant from the land and keep the land free of the plant. A person should not deal with the plant, where dealings include but are not limited to buying, selling, growing, moving, carrying or releasing 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* (for Regional Priority - Containment)
Whole of region: Land managers mitigate the risk of new weeds being introduced to their land. Within exclusion zone: Land managers should eradicate the plant from the land and keep the land free of the plant. A person should not deal with the plant, where dealings include but are not limited to buying, selling, growing, moving, carrying or releasing the plant. Notify local control authority if found. Within core infestation: Land managers should mitigate spread of the plant from their land. A person should not buy, sell, move, carry or release the plant into the environment. Land managers should reduce the impact of the plant on assets of high economic, environmental and/or social value.
Northern Tablelands Regional Recommended Measure* (for Regional Priority - Eradication)
Land managers should mitigate the risk of the plant being introduced to their land. Land managers should eradicate the plant from the land and keep the land free of the plant. A person should not deal with the plant, where dealings include but are not limited to buying, selling, growing, moving, carrying or releasing the plant. Notify local control authority if found.
Riverina Regional Recommended Measure* (for Regional Priority - Eradication)
Land managers should mitigate the risk of the plant being introduced to their land. Land managers should eradicate the plant from the land and keep the land free of the plant. A person should not deal with the plant, where dealings include but are not limited to buying, selling, growing, moving, carrying or releasing the plant. Notify local control authority if found. Your local biosecurity weeds officer can help to identify, advise on control, and how to remove this weed.
*To see the Regional Strategic Weeds Management Plans containing demonstrated outcomes that fulfil 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.

Reviewed 2024