Common names: French Broom, Canary Broom
Description: Upright, evergreen shrub. Commonly up to 10 feet tall. Round stems are covered in silvery, silky hair.
Flowers: The small yellow flowers are pea-like and clustered in groups of four to ten. Inch long, pea-like pods are covered with hairs.
Leaves: Small, green leaves are usually arranged in groups of 3, the tops are glabrous and the bottoms have small, spreading hairs. They are alternate and deciduous. Their length is about twice their width.
Reproduction: Reprodution by seeds or resprouting. Broom can resprout from root crown after cutting. Pods open explosively, flinging seeds up to 4 meters, then further dispersed by animals, humans and water. Broom seeds are viable up to 5 years in soil.
Flowering: Late March to July.
Habitat and Ecology: Native to the Meditteranean and the Azores. Brought to the Bay Area as an ornamental.
In some livestock, ingestion of plant parts can cause staggering followed by paralysis. French broom is believed to be responsible for reducing arthropod populations by one-third in Golden Gate National Recreation Area. It burns readily and carries fire to the tree canopy layer, increasing both the frequency and intensity of fires