Herb: Spanish Broom


Latin name: Spartium junceum


Synonyms: Genista juncea


Family: Leguminosae



Medicinal use of Spanish Broom:

The young herbaceous tips of flowering shoots are harvested in spring, generally in May. They can be used fresh or dried and are cardiotonic, cathartic, diuretic, emetic and purgative. The seeds can also be used. The plant is an efficacious and potent diuretic. This plant is 5 - 6 times more active than the medicinally similar Cytisus scoparius and should be used with caution since large doses are likely to upset the stomach and cause purging.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Deciduous
Shrub

Height:
3.5 m
(11 feet)

Flovering:
June to
September


Scent:
Scented
Shrub

Habitat of the herb:

Dry situations amongst rocks and in bushy places, usually on limestone soils.

Other uses of Spanish Broom:

A fibre from the stems is a hemp substitute. It is used to make thread, cordage and coarse fabrics. It is also used for stuffing pillows etc and for making paper. The smaller stems are used in basket making. The branches are often made into brooms. A yellow dye is obtained from the flowers. An essential oil is obtained from the flowers, it is used in perfumery. 1200kg of flowers yields 300 - 350gr absolute.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - pre-soak 24 hours in hot water and sow February/March in a greenhouse. It usually germinates well and quickly. The seed can also be autumn sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. If sufficient growth is made, it is possible to plant out in the summer, otherwise overwinter them in a cold frame and plant out in late spring of the following year.

Cultivation of Spanish Broom:

Dry situations amongst rocks and in bushy places, usually on limestone soils.

Known hazards of Spartium junceum:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.