Sunday, June 27, 2010

Spanish Broom and Other Flora Around My World

The drive to and from my house is filled with perfumed air from the Spanish broom growing along the roadsides. I roll my windows down to take it all in. I love the bright cheery yellow burst of color as I round the curves.

Many locals complain about this invasive plant. They also call it Scotch broom, which it is not, and apparently is not as invasive as the Scotch or French broom which both grown in the Santa Cruz Mountains where I live.

Here’s what I gathered on the Internet about it:

A perennial, evergreen shrub, Spanish broom, aka Weavers broom, is often mistaken for Scotch broom (Scot's broom) but can be distinguished by the fragrant flowers and rounded, bright green stems.

Deciduous, summer to early spring, this species is considered somewhat less troublesome than Scotch or French brooms. In its native range, stems and fibers are used to make baskets, mats, ropes, and paper. Flowers provide a yellow dye and an essential oil that is sometimes used in perfumery. Introduced from the Mediterranean region and Canary, Madeira, and Azores Islands.

Spanish broom was introduced into the California ornamental trade in 1848 in San Francisco. Beginning in the late 1930s, it was planted along mountain highways in southern California.

According to the California Invasive Plant Council, Spanish broom occurs in coastal scrub, grassland, wetlands, and oak (Quercus spp.) woodland throughout California, and forests in the northwestern part of the state. Spanish broom is associated with coyote bush (Baccharis pilularis) in the interior Santa Cruz Mountains, with a large monospecific stand of French broom located downslope. Spanish broom also occurs in redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) forests.

This shrub is in full bloom on the hillside along the long drive to my house. I do not know what it is and have not been able to identify it so if you know please leave a message for me!!!


Sticky Monkey Flower


matilija poppy

Yerba Santa with lovely Swallowtail Butterfly

Elderberries in bloom. When the blossoms turn to deep blue/purple berries the birds will flock in droves, western tanagers, lesser goldfinch, flycatchers, towhees, grosbeaks, and then the band tail pigeons will swoop in with wings drumming to lord over the other birds while they stealthily flit from branch to branch.


Joanne Huffman said...

Fabulous flora photos (couldn't resist the alliteration). Have you ever made dye from the Spanish broom?

Jomama said...

Thanks for sharing the pretty pictures! The grasses with the seeds hanging off are called catkins, aren't they? We have a children's book about that.