Since we’re back on the alien train (spaceship?), I thought I’d bring up another of my least favorite shrubs – Scots broom – as our next installation of WOW (why oh why?).
Scots (or scotch) broom (Cytisus scoparius) is a much-reviled intruder in the western and eastern United States. Originally introduced as a sturdy ornamental, this legume quickly invaded disturbed areas and is labeled as a noxious weed in several western states. In Washington, it’s quarantined. Research dollars have been dedicated to studying best methods of eradication. So it doesn’t take a rocket scientist (or even a garden professor) to figure out that it’s probably not a wise addition to one’s landscape.
But apparently some nurseries either (1) haven’t paid attention or (2) don’t care. In a quick look at the internet, I found nurseries in many states, including Oregon and California, that sell this species. Many will argue that they are selling “less invasive” or “sterile” cultivars, which is a poor excuse in my opinion. Readers of this blog know by now that cultivars often revert to wild type, and there’s no reason to assume that broom cultivars are exempt from this ability. Furthermore, we know that plants have the ability to extend their ranges past what we think they are (hello kudzu?).
Just popping in to say hello
There are many ornamental alternatives to Scots broom that can easily be found online or in print. I’d love to hear some rational arguments from nursery owners, landscape designers, or anyone else justifying the sale of this plant.