Spartium junceum (syn. Genista juncea), known as Spanish broom or weaver's broom, is a species of flowering plant in the family Fabaceae, native to the Mediterranean in southern Europe, southwest Asia and northwest Africa, where it is found in sunny sites, usually on dry, sandy soils. It is the sole species in the genus Spartium, but is closely related to the other brooms in the genera Cytisus and Genista.
S. junceum is a vigorous, deciduous shrub growing to 2–4 m (7–13 ft) tall, rarely 5 m (16 ft), with main stems up to 5 cm (2 in) thick, rarely 10 cm (4 in). It has thick, somewhat succulent grey-green rush-like shoots with very sparse small deciduous leaves 1 to 3 cm long and up to 4 mm broad. The leaves are of little importance to the plant, with much of the photosynthesis occurring in the green shoots (a water-conserving strategy in its dry climate). The leaves fall away early. In late spring and summer shoots are covered in profuse fragrant yellow pea-like flowers 1 to 2 cm across. In late summer, the legumes (seed pods) mature black and reach 8–10 cm (3–4 in) long. They burst open, often with an audible crack, spreading seed from the parent plant.
Spartium junceum has been widely introduced into other areas, and is regarded as a noxious invasive species in places with a Mediterranean climate such as California and Oregon, Hawaii, central Chile, southeastern Australia, the Western Cape in South Africa and the Canary Islands and Azores. It was first introduced to California as an ornamental plant.
In Bolivia and Peru, the plant is known as retama, and has become very well established in some areas. It is one of the most common ornamental plants, often seen growing along sidewalks in La Paz.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Spartium junceum.|