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Retama raetam (Puntagorda) 02.jpg
White flowers of Retama raetam
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Faboideae
Tribe: Genisteae[1]
Genus: Retama

4–14; see text.

  • Lygos Adans.

Retama is a genus of flowering bushes in the legume family, Fabaceae. It belongs to the broom tribe, Genisteae. Retama broom bushes are found natively in North Africa, the Levant and some parts of southern Europe. Retama raetam and Retama monosperma have white flowers, while Retama sphaerocarpa has yellow flowers. It remains an open question in taxonomy whether the members of the Retama genus should be incorporated into the genus Genista (see Genisteae).

The species contain cytisine, a toxic alkaloid.

In the Spanish language the name "retama" is in common use for broom bushes in general, includingthe genus Retama.


The name Lygos was once used for Retama.[2][3][4] Michel Adanson described and classified the genus referencing to the Greek plant “lygos” and to Pedanius Dioscorides.[5] In ancient Greek language lygos (λύγος) was the name of the plant Vitex agnus-castus (chaste tree)[6] or willow or other plants with pliant twigs.[7] The same word (in some cases Latinized as Lygus) was used in botany and zoology for various taxonomic groups as a component of names, e.g. Lygodysodea, Lygisyum, Lygistum, Lygodesmia etc.[8][9]


Retama comprises the following species:[10][11][12]

Species names with uncertain taxonomic status[edit]

The status of the following species is unresolved:[12]

  • Retama albiflora Raf.
  • Retama angulata Griseb.
  • Retama atlantica Pomel
  • Retama bovei (Spach) Webb
  • Retama hipponensis Webb
  • Retama lutea Raf.
  • Retama microcarpa Webb
  • Retama parviflora (Vent.) Webb
  • Retama recutita Webb ex Bolle
  • Retama webbii Webb


  1. ^ Cardoso D, Pennington RT, de Queiroz LP, Boatwright JS, Van Wyk BE, Wojciechowski MF, Lavin M (2013). "Reconstructing the deep-branching relationships of the papilionoid legumes". S Afr J Bot. 89: 58–75. doi:10.1016/j.sajb.2013.05.001. 
  2. ^ James Cullen, Sabina G. Knees, The European Garden Flora Flowering Plants: Manual for the Identification of Plants Cultivated in Europe, Both Out-Of-Doors and Under Glass, Cambridge University Press, 2011, p. 410.
  3. ^ European Environment Agency, Thermo-mediterranean (Lygos raetam) brush
  4. ^ Hanelt P. & Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (eds.), Mansfeld's Encyclopedia of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops, Springer Verlag, Germany, 2001, p. 924
  5. ^ Adanson M. (1763) Familles des Plantes, Paris, vol. 2, pp. 321, 573. Note: In p. 573 the name is printed as “Lugos”.
  6. ^ Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon
  7. ^ Brown Roland Wilbur, Composition of scientific words: a manual of methods and a lexicon of materials for the practice of logotechnics, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1979 p. 856.
  8. ^ George Don, A general history of the Dichlamydeous plants, London, 1834, vol. 3, p. 483, 560.
  9. ^ Brown, p. 485: Lygus oblineatus (bug).
  10. ^ "ILDIS LegumeWeb entry for Retama". International Legume Database & Information Service. Cardiff School of Computer Science & Informatics. Retrieved 15 April 2014. 
  11. ^ USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. "GRIN species records of Retama". Germplasm Resources Information Network—(GRIN) [Online Database]. National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland. Retrieved 15 April 2014. 
  12. ^ a b "The Plant List entry for Retama". The Plant List. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and the Missouri Botanical Garden. 2013. Retrieved 15 April 2014.