Genista monspessulana (Montpellier broom)
- Summary of Invasiveness
- Taxonomic Tree
- Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature
- Plant Type
- Distribution Table
- History of Introduction and Spread
- Risk of Introduction
- Habitat List
- Hosts/Species Affected
- Biology and Ecology
- Air Temperature
- Rainfall Regime
- Soil Tolerances
- Natural enemies
- Notes on Natural Enemies
- Means of Movement and Dispersal
- Pathway Vectors
- Plant Trade
- Impact Summary
- Environmental Impact
- Impact: Biodiversity
- Threatened Species
- Social Impact
- Risk and Impact Factors
- Uses List
- Similarities to Other Species/Conditions
- Prevention and Control
- Links to Websites
- Distribution Maps
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PicturesTop of page
IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Genista monspessulana (L.) L. Johnson (1962)
Preferred Common Name
- Montpellier broom
Other Scientific Names
- Cytisus candicans (L.) DC. (1805)
- Cytisus candicans (L.) Lam. (1786)
- Cytisus kunzeanus Willk. (1877)
- Cytisus monspessulanus L. (1753)
- Genista candicans L. (1755)
- Genista eriocarpa Kunze (1846)
- Genista syriaca Boiss. & Blanche (1856)
- Teline monspessulana (L.) C. Koch (1869)
International Common Names
- English: Cape broom; French broom; soft broom; teline
- Spanish: escobones; retama; retamo liso
- French: cytise de Montpellier; genet blanchatre; genet de Montpellier
Local Common Names
- Germany: Montpellier- Geissklee
- Italy: citiso di Montpellier; rutaccio
- Spain: coniells; ginesta; ginesta de Montpellier
- TLNMO (Teline monspessulana)
Summary of InvasivenessTop of page
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Phylum: Spermatophyta
- Subphylum: Angiospermae
- Class: Dicotyledonae
- Order: Fabales
- Family: Fabaceae
- Subfamily: Faboideae
- Genus: Genista
- Species: Genista monspessulana
Notes on Taxonomy and NomenclatureTop of page
Despite the wide and patchy geographic distribution of G. monspessulana, only one subspecies or variety has been recognized: var. colmeiroi Bolòs and Vigo (1974); but this is not widely accepted.
The association of this species with Montpellier, France, results from the place of first taxonomic description, because this species does not commonly occur around this locality. The common name 'Cape broom' comes from a misplaced early belief that this weed originated from the Cape Verde islands (JMB Smith, Australian Antarctic Division, Kingston, personal communication, 2005).
DescriptionTop of page
The characters used to separate Teline from other Genista species are the longer standard than the lower keel petals and the relatively long aril or appendage on the seed. The upright spreading growth form, height, leafy spineless shoots, and racemes of showy flowers are common to all members of the Teline group in contrast to the 'genistiform' (tussock of vertical leafless shoots) shape of other Genista species. In the field, G. monspessulana plants are conspicuous because of their upright but not rigid canopy cover and especially their abundant small yellow flowers borne along, rather than at the end, of the branches at peak flowering early in the season.
Plant TypeTop of page
DistributionTop of page
Native populations in the Mediterranean tend to be small (90% of populations observed had fewer than 100 individuals) and scattered, either as a low density and spindly understorey component of disturbed cork oak/pine forest or as dense but transient populations in post-fire regenerating maquis communities in zones of rich acidic soil and relatively high rainfall (>600 mm). This association with higher rainfall areas in the Mediterranean becomes immediately apparent in Greece where the plant is only found on one 100-km² area in the western Peloponissos. This is the only place in Greece where acid soils occur at sufficient altitude for the necessary rainfall, in an area that does not experience hard continental winters (Sheppard, 2003). Apart from G. monspessulana, the other species within the Teline group are restricted in native distribution to either the western Mediterranean or various Atlantic islands (twelve species are endemic to the Atlantic islands; Percy and Cronk, 2002). G. monspessulana's habitat restriction in its native range and its scattered occurrence around the Mediterranean give it a very patchy distribution and localized abundance across the Mediterranean region.
It its exotic range, G. monspessulana is present in a number of countries surrounding the native distribution (Syria, the Caucasus, the Azores and Armenia; Gibbs and Dingwall, 1971; ILIDIS, 2004). It is also present in North and South America, South Africa and Australasia. In Australia, it is a widespread environmental weed of national, state and urban parks and fallow land mainly in South Australia and Victoria, but also in Tasmania and southern New South Wales (Sheppard, 2000). It has been estimated to invade at least 600,000 ha in Australia. In South Australia and Victoria it is classed as a noxious weed, while in Tasmania it is a 'secondary weed'. In South Australia it is widespread but with large infestations in the Mount Lofty Ranges, Belair National Park and the Clare Valley (Crossman and Kochergen, 2002). It also poses direct costs to the Forestry Industry (D McGuire, Forestry South Australia, Meadows, Australia, personal communication, 2005). In Victoria, Montpellier broom is in the top 30 most widespread weeds with 1000 ha of dense infestation, 50,000 ha of medium infestation and 550,000 ha of scattered infestation (Lane et al., 1980). Montpellier broom is a regionally controlled weed in the Wimmera, Glenelg, Corangamite, Port Phillip East, Goulburn, North East, West Gippsland and East Gippsland Catchment and Land Protection Regions. It is widespread with the largest infestations in the Dandenong ranges National Park (Gillespie, 1991), Australian Alps National Park, Central Highlands and the Wonangatta Valley. In Tasmania, Montpellier broom is widely scattered in the east, occurring commonly in the north-east in the Great Western Tiers and on Mount Wellington. In New South Wales it occurs on the coast, the tablelands, the western slopes and southwestern plains and there are scattered infestations totalling 1200 ha in 26 local government area shires and seven reserves in five districts of the New South Wales National Parks (Leys, 1998). Significant areas infested are in the Illawarra district and New England Tablelands. A few plants have been recorded in the Margaret River area of Western Australia (Parsons and Cuthbertson, 1992).
In the USA, G. monspessulana is a widespread environmental weed of national, state and urban parks and fallow land, mainly in central California and southern Oregon (Jepson, 1979). In California it has been estimated to invade at least 40,000 ha and was first introduced as an ornamental into the San Francisco Bay region. It is classed as an A-1 weed by CalEPPC (California Exotic Pest Plant Council) and a class C weed by the Californian Department of Food and Agriculture. It is particularly prevalent along the coast from Monterey county north to Mendicino county and inland in Lake Solano and Contra costa counties and also in the Sierra Nevada foothill counties to 800 m (Bossard, 2000). It is the most important weed in Jackson State Experimental Forest. Invaded habitats include coastal plains, mountain slopes, riverbanks, road cuts, forest clear-cuts, grassland and open canopy forest on a wide range of soil types.
Distribution TableTop of page
The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.Last updated: 10 Feb 2022
|Continent/Country/Region||Distribution||Last Reported||Origin||First Reported||Invasive||Reference||Notes|
|Algeria||Present, Few occurrences||Native|
|Tunisia||Absent, Formerly present|
|Portugal||Present, Few occurrences|
|-Azores||Absent, Intercepted only|
|-Canary Islands||Absent, Intercepted only|
|United States||Present||Present based on regional distribution.|
|-Hawaii||Present, Few occurrences||Introduced||Invasive|
|-Oregon||Present, Few occurrences||Introduced||Invasive|
|Australia||Present||Present based on regional distribution.|
|-New South Wales||Present, Localized||Introduced||Invasive|
|-South Australia||Present, Widespread||Introduced||Invasive|
|-Western Australia||Present, Few occurrences||Introduced|
|New Zealand||Present, Localized||Introduced||Invasive|
|Chile||Present, Few occurrences||Introduced||Invasive|
History of Introduction and SpreadTop of page
Risk of IntroductionTop of page
HabitatTop of page
In exotic communities, G. monspessulana appears less restricted by habitat type and soil pH. It has become a major widespread weed in native and commercial forest ecosystems, in disturbed habitats, and along water courses. Invaded habitats include sclerophyllous recreational and commercial forests, open woodland, along roadsides, railways and river systems from 0-1000 m altitude, coastal plains, mountain slopes, riverbanks, road cuts, forest clear-cuts, grassland and open canopy forest.
Habitat ListTop of page
|Terrestrial||Managed||Managed forests, plantations and orchards||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial||Managed||Managed grasslands (grazing systems)||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial||Managed||Disturbed areas||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial||Managed||Rail / roadsides||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial||Managed||Urban / peri-urban areas||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial||Natural / Semi-natural||Natural forests||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial||Natural / Semi-natural||Natural grasslands||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial||Natural / Semi-natural||Riverbanks||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Littoral||Coastal areas||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
Hosts/Species AffectedTop of page
Biology and EcologyTop of page
Significant morphological variation observed between infestations in different locations (variation in bushiness and leaf size) can largely be associated with habitat (i.e., in the open or understorey). While there is little outward morphological variation associated with geographic distribution (e.g. flower colour), natural populations scattered around the Mediterranean will have had significant long-term reproductive isolation, which is likely to be associated with degrees of genetic distance. In exotic populations, the historic horticultural importation and associated hybridization activities with other species in the Teline group suggest that exotic populations may nonetheless exhibit genetic variation and as such may not be identical to native G. monspessulana material (D Cooke, Department of Water, Land and Biodiversity Conservation, Adelaide, Australia, personal communication, 2005). A study of such variation is required to clarify such suppositions. Several commercially available broom varieties are of hybrid stock, e.g. Cytisus 'Porlock' is considered to be a hybrid between G. monspessulana and Cytisus x spachianus sensu hort. Cytisus x spachianus has a range of varietal names (Cytisus racemosus Hort, Cytisus 'Racemosus Nana', Cytisus praecox 'Nana', Cytisus 'Racemosus Scoparius Nanus', Genista racemosa Hort, Genista hispanica sensu Macoboy, and Genista x spachiana) and is considered to be a hybrid between G. canariensis and G. stenopetala (Rowell, 1991; Atkinson and Sheppard, 2000) and has also naturalized in some areas (Parsons and Cuthbertson, 1992).
Physiology and Phenology
G. monspessulana can live up to 13 years, but this is extremely rare with most mature plants dying between the ages of 3 and 7 years (Lloyd, 2000). Old plants are also rarer in the native range. Annual growth is such that axillary meristems, produced on the main axis, grow up into lateral vegetative shoots at the same time as extension of the main axis. The top of the vegetative shoots produces racemes of lateral axillary flower clusters in the subsequent year while the main axis of the shoot continues to grow and produce leaves above the flowering zone as the season progresses. Secondary flowers may be produced as part of a second flowering higher up the shoot a few months later in the same season on young actively growing plants. Photosynthesis occurs in the green stems and leaves. Young stems remain green for at least 1 year and the persistent leaves allow photosynthesis to occur throughout the growing season. Leaves are shed one year later as new leaves are produced in spring higher up the shoot. Shaded plants adapt by having lower branches and larger leaves.
Adult Montpellier broom is fairly drought tolerant, although the ca. 600 mm minimum rainfall required suggests some life stages, probably the seedlings, are relatively drought intolerant. Germination occurs following seasonal rains mainly in the spring and autumn (mainly in autumn in the native range). Big flushes of germination follow large-scale disturbance, droughts and fires after rain and can probably occur at any time of the year.
G. monspessulana is a typical Mediterranean species and is likely to have relatively high optimal temperatures for photosynthesis. The period of most rapid growth is in spring/summer, but plants can grow all year round if humidity and temperature conditions are suitable as there is no obligate winter dormancy typical of more temperate species such as Cytisus scoparius. Flowering is early season; February until early June (or July in Coastal California, USA; Bossard, 2000) with seed pod dehiscence in July in the northern hemisphere and August until November with seed pod dehiscence in January in the southern hemisphere.
G. monspessulana reproduces only by seed from the second year and twice a year when young. Age structures in the native range are mostly bell shaped with age classes of 2-4 years dominant, few new recruits and few older plants (Lloyd, 2000). This is consistent with populations being generated by pulsed opportunities for recruitment associated with fire and other disturbance. Native populations appear to be mainly early successional, being replaced by later successional species. Age structures in the exotic range fit a 'reversed J' distribution better, with highest numbers in the youngest age class and numbers declining with increasing age. This indicates that invading alien populations, in contrast to the native range, have continuous recruitment with seedlings regaining spaces left by dying older plants in what are clearly more persistent populations. This agrees with observations that Montpellier broom in invading infestations tends to form dense monospecific stands.
Flowers can self pollinate, but the fertilization rate is 50% lower with autogamous pollen and successful fertilization requires that the flowers are tripped by a pollinator (Parker and Haubensak, 2002). Flower abortion rate in exotic stands varies from 70 to 95% and this could be only partially explained by pollen limitation, suggesting resources were the main factor limiting seed production (Parker and Haubensak, 2002). Seed production increases asymptotically with plant age for all populations, peaking at ca. 100,000 seeds per plant for 5- to 6-year-old individuals growing without competition (Lloyd, 2000). In the exotic range in California, USA, seedbanks, up to 9000 seeds/m² have been recorded (Parker and Kersner, 1989; Alexander and D'Antonio, 2003) and seed banks were found not to increase significantly with stand age suggesting annual seedbank losses quickly equalled annual seed rain (Alexander and D'Antonio, 2003). In Australia, annual seed rain can range from 2500 to 13,500 seeds/m², setting up seedbanks of between 30,000 and 100,000 m² with an annual seedbank decay rate of 23-50% largely resulting from failed germination.
The annual probability that a seed in the seedbank will become a seedling is about 0.01, while the probability of this seedling surviving the first year is about 0.07 following either anthropogenic disturbance or fire (Pareja, 1999). In the native Mediterranean range, the plant generates smaller seedbanks 500-900/m². In the native range, G. monspessulana suffers high levels of herbivory from goats, stem miners, insects in seedpods and post dispersal seed predation by rodents (J Lloyd, Weeds CRC, University of Adelaide, Australia, unpublished data).
G. monspessulana can be found at up to ca. 1000 m altitude. Altitudinal and latitudinal limits are set by persistent low winter temperatures and rainfall on seedling survival (González-Andrés and Ortiz, 1996a). It is also poorly adapted to consistently cold temperate winters, showing little capacity to shut down growth over winter. In a Mediterranean climate, however, it will quickly overtop more winter dormant temperate species, like C. scoparius, because it can grow as soon as conditions are suitable such as during warm weeks in winter. In Spain it was found to grow 140 cm in two growing seasons and faster than other brooms (González-Andrés and Ortiz, 1996a). The plant appears able to tolerate windy conditions and will occur on steep, sparsely vegetated slopes. G. monspessulana seedlings require persistent moisture to survive and seedlings are less frost tolerant than those of Cytisus scoparius (González-Andrés and Ortiz, 1996a). G. monspessulana infestations do not collectively senesce in the way C. scoparius populations do (Peterson and Prasad, 1998), instead individuals die and drop out of the stand over a broad age range and are quickly replaced by juveniles (exotic range) or other species (native range). In drier climates broom can remain a highly invasive species associated with the banks or braided riverbeds of watercourses or along drainage lines. In its native range, broom is a calcifuge (Polunin and Smythies, 1973). In the exotic range, however, this broom occurs on a broader range of soils derived from a wide variety of substrates, particularly river sand, schist, granite, basalt or siliceous soils, and can even grow reasonably well on alkaline soils up to pH 8 (González-Andrés and Ortiz , 1996b). It does not flourish on calcareous soils. Plants establish best after soil or vegetation disturbance, caused by animals, fire or herbicide treatments, for example. Montpellier broom is quite tolerant of heavy shade as it persists as an understorey plant at least in forest gaps and trails even with quite dense canopy cover. Seedlings can tolerate up to 80% shade (C Bossard, St Mary's College, Moraga, California, USA, unpublished data) allowing broom to persist in woodland and forests. Seedling survival tends to be significantly lower beneath parental or other relatively dense canopy cover.
G. monspessulana is associated with specific nitrogen-fixing bacteria of the genus Bradyrhizobium (González-Andrés and Ortiz, 1999). Bacterial associations in root nodules allow this plant to grow faster survive better and have higher nitrogen content assisting competition and invasion on nitrogen-poor soils.
Air TemperatureTop of page
|Parameter||Lower limit||Upper limit|
|Absolute minimum temperature (ºC)||-15|
|Mean annual temperature (ºC)||10||20|
|Mean maximum temperature of hottest month (ºC)||20||40|
|Mean minimum temperature of coldest month (ºC)||2||10|
RainfallTop of page
|Parameter||Lower limit||Upper limit||Description|
|Dry season duration||0||12||number of consecutive months with <40 mm rainfall|
|Mean annual rainfall||600||3000||mm; lower/upper limits|
Rainfall RegimeTop of page
Soil TolerancesTop of page
Special soil tolerances
Natural enemiesTop of page
|Natural enemy||Type||Life stages||Specificity||References||Biological control in||Biological control on|
|Agrilus antiquus||Herbivore||Plants|Roots; Plants|Stems|
|Agrilus cinctus||Herbivore||Plants|Roots; Plants|Stems|
|Arytinnis hakani||Herbivore||Plants|Growing point; Plants|Leaves|
|Chyliza leptogaster||Herbivore||Plants|Roots; Plants|Stems|
Notes on Natural EnemiesTop of page
In the native range, goats are probably another significant factor limiting the abundance of this plant, given their ubiquitous occurrence, and that most Mediterranean species in the Genisteae are spiny. No published data are available on the impact of natural enemies of Montpellier broom in the native range. In the USA, Uresiphita reversalis can defoliate G. monspessulana, but plants just regrow leaves after larval stages finish development (Montllor et al., 1990, 1995).
Means of Movement and DispersalTop of page
Natural Dispersal (Non-Biotic)
Several cases of broom spread have resulted from movement from the top of water catchments, down river systems and out into the surrounding landscape, particularly during flood conditions (McClintock, 1985).
Vector Transmission (Biotic)
Wild or feral animals and birds are important agents of short-distance dispersal in pasture and upland areas, both by carrying seeds and creating disturbance that assists germination and recruitment. Some secondary local dispersal may be due to ants (McClintock, 1985).
Spread is known to have occurred via movement of farm equipment, and through the activities of grazing livestock through semi-natural vegetation systems (Parsons and Cuthbertson, 1992).
Dispersal of seeds may occur in mud attached to all-terrain vehicles and ramblers' boots (Parsons and Cuthbertson, 1992).
G. monspessulana was introduced into most countries for its floral interest (Parsons and Cuthbertson, 1992). Many infestations initially result from garden escapes, followed by other biotic or non-biotic factors assisting spread (Bossard et al., 1995).
Pathway VectorsTop of page
Plant TradeTop of page
|Plant parts liable to carry the pest in trade/transport||Pest stages||Borne internally||Borne externally||Visibility of pest or symptoms|
|Fruits (inc. pods)||weeds/fruits; weeds/seeds|
|Growing medium accompanying plants||weeds/seeds|
|True seeds (inc. grain)||weeds/seeds|
|Plant parts not known to carry the pest in trade/transport|
|Stems (above ground)/Shoots/Trunks/Branches|
Impact SummaryTop of page
|Fisheries / aquaculture||None|
ImpactTop of page
G. monspessulana foliage and seeds are toxic containing a wide variety of quinolizidine alkaloids especially in young leaves (Montllor et al., 1990). Ingestion of the plant can cause staggering followed by paralysis in some livestock (McClintock, 1985). Foliage can also cause digestive disorders in horses (Parsons and Cuthbertson, 1992).
Environmental ImpactTop of page
Impact: BiodiversityTop of page
Threatened SpeciesTop of page
|Threatened Species||Conservation Status||Where Threatened||Mechanism||References||Notes|
|Chorizanthe pungens (Monterey spineflower)||NatureServe; USA ESA listing as threatened species||California||Competition (unspecified)||US Fish and Wildlife Service (2009a)|
|Cupressus goveniana var. goveniana (Gowen cypress)||EN (IUCN red list: Endangered); NatureServe; USA ESA listing as threatened species||California||Competition - monopolizing resources|
|Hesperolinon congestum (Marin dwarf-flax)||NatureServe; USA ESA listing as threatened species||California||Competition - monopolizing resources||US Fish and Wildlife Service (2011)|
|Holocarpha macradenia (Santa Cruz tarplant)||NatureServe; USA ESA listing as threatened species||California||Competition - monopolizing resources; Ecosystem change / habitat alteration||US Fish and Wildlife Service (2014)|
|Platanthera yadonii (Yadon's piperia)||VU (IUCN red list: Vulnerable); NatureServe; USA ESA listing as endangered species||California||Competition - monopolizing resources||US Fish and Wildlife Service (2009b)|
|Streptanthus glandulosus subsp. niger (Tiburon jewelflower)||USA ESA listing as endangered species||California||Competition - strangling||US Fish and Wildlife Service (2010)|
|Polygonum hickmanii (Scotts Valley polygonum)||NatureServe; USA ESA listing as endangered species||California||Competition - strangling||US Fish and Wildlife Service (2009c)|
Social ImpactTop of page
Risk and Impact FactorsTop of page
- Proved invasive outside its native range
- Highly adaptable to different environments
- Highly mobile locally
- Has high reproductive potential
- Has propagules that can remain viable for more than one year
- Damaged ecosystem services
- Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
- Negatively impacts agriculture
- Negatively impacts animal health
- Negatively impacts tourism
- Reduced amenity values
- Reduced native biodiversity
- Competition - monopolizing resources
- Competition - strangling
- Competition (unspecified)
- Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately
- Difficult to identify/detect in the field
- Difficult/costly to control
UsesTop of page
Uses ListTop of page
Similarities to Other Species/ConditionsTop of page
Prevention and ControlTop of page
Due to the variable regulations around (de)registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control. Pesticides should always be used in a lawful manner, consistent with the product's label.Cultural Control
Unpublished work in Australia, New Zealand and the USA on broom management with goats, suggests this is a potential option. It can be effective on disturbed/agricultural land where native regeneration is not being encouraged. Meat or dairy goats should be used because these are the easiest to handle and cannot jump the fences. Goats can be trained to be quite selective at least within the vegetation structure, for example they can effectively strip flowers. Goat management may require the provision of access trails and follow-up herbicide treatments on resprouts once the goats have been moved on.
Burning uncut broom in late spring/early summer can be used successfully (Boyd, 1994), although appropriate conditions for an effective burn are hard to obtain safely. Burnt sites showed >80% loss in seedbank density (Alexander and D'Antonio, 2003). Reburning the same site 2-4 years later may also help if there is a sufficient fuel load and the frequent fires do not prevent native bush regeneration. However, reburning does not further reduce the seedbank (Alexander and D'Antonio, 2003). Fire is best used as part of an integrated strategy and post-fire monitoring is a key requirement.
Mechanical removal of G. monspessulana is labour intensive and so best applied to small infestations amongst desirable vegetation. Mower or bush hogs are sometimes a viable option for monospecific stands but there are often problems of accessibility. Slashing, whacking or brush cutting are other alternatives (Archbald, 1996). Bulldozing is not recommended due to the soil disturbance generated and the effect this has on burying and prolonging the seedbank. Cut individuals can resprout if not cut at ground level. For individual large plants, weed wrenches assist targeted removal, but can disturb the soil prolonging the need for monitoring for regeneration (Bossard, 2000). Hand removal of individuals prior to seed fall in sensitive areas, particularly for isolated individuals at flowering is an effective strategy in National Parks where the walking public can be trained to recognize and remove broom. Mechanical control does not deal with the long-lived seedbank and so integrated strategies associated with reseeding desirable species, or at least allowing those present to seed effectively, are often required (Bossard, 2000). Over-sowing with a perennial grass layer has been suggested for other brooms and may also be effective following fire. All forms of mechanical removal require monitoring of treated areas for regrowth from stumps and the seedbank. Sites should be visited once every 1-2 years after treatment in late spring for 5-10 years and every 2 years thereafter to treat any new patches and flowering individuals prior to seed set.
The main chemicals used to control brooms are picloram, triclopyr, glyphosate, fluroxypyr and metsulfuron (Parsons and Cuthbertson, 1992). Specific chemicals are appropriate for specific situations, such as proximity to water courses. The addition of some surfactants to glyphosate and metsulfuron increase the level of control achieved by these chemicals. Triclopyr ester in Hasten or Penevator oil in low volume basal bark application with a wick has proved very effective at killing mature plants (Bossard et al., 1995). Herbicide injection (drilling, filling and frilling) has also been trialed (Gillespie, 1991). Chemical control of G. monspessulana is most usually applied as a high-volume foliar spray. Applications need to be made in periods of active growth after flower formation, but before seed dehiscence. Seedlings are least resistant to hormonal herbicides at the 10- to 15-cm size (Bossard, 2000). Regular follow-up spraying is essential for effective control, but standing dead biomass also presents a major fire hazard.
Work on the biological control of G. monspessulana started in 1998. So far only one agent, Arytinnis hakani, has received a release permit and, as yet, only in Australia (Sheppard, 2003). Several other species are being considered. No releases have been made. Bruchidius villosus has recently been introduced into a number of countries to control Cytisus scoparius (Syrett et al., 1999) and is also likely to feed on G. monspessulana.
Only two studies have been found that look in depth at possible management strategies for G. monspessulana and both these are unpublished. The first relates to an experiment carried out in Jackson State Experimental Forest in California, USA (Bossard, 1995), while the second was a similar study carried out in the Adelaide hills, South Australia (Lloyd, 2000). The results were similar. Management is most effective using fire-based integrated weed management in areas that cannot wait for the long-term biocontrol solution. Before burning, curing the broom using herbicides (triclopyr basal applications or glyphosate to protect natives) increases fire intensity, thereby stimulating or killing a maximum amount of the resident weed seed bank. Fire is most effective on pre-sprayed or slashed broom because this also keeps fire low to the ground. Lloyd (2000) also found that smoke stimulated seed germination in plots not directly affected by the fire. Targeting the seed bank in this way with fire achieved 85-95% losses of G. monspessulana in both trials even with quite low intensity burns. Follow-up treatments must be carried regularly to kill regenerating plants just before seed set, i.e. about 2 years after the fire. Such follow-up treatments kept broom cover to <5% after 3 years in California. Many land managers perceive management with fire as too risky and also little is known about the effects of such control burns on the native species that should be encouraged to replace the weed.
Best practice in broom management will require a specific strategy for each situation. Areas should be designated for containment versus treatment where resources are limiting. Fire or goats can be the basis of integrated broom management strategies depending on the situation. Without these options (e.g., in containment areas) biological control remains the only solution. All successful management requires a communication strategy to explain and encourage adoption and adaptive management (trying new ideas in parallel to traditional wisdom) should be encouraged at all times.
ReferencesTop of page
Adamson RS, Salter TM, 1950. Flora of the Cape Peninsula. Capetown, South Africa: Juta
Alexander JM, D’Antonio CM, 2003. Seed bank dynamics of French broom in coastal California grasslands: effects of stand age and prescribed burning on control and restoration. Restoration Ecology, 11:185-197
Archbald G, 1996. A French broom control method. CalEPPC News, summer/fall:4-6. Sacramento, USA: CalEPPC
Atkinson I, Sheppard AW, 2000. Broom biocontrol: conflicts of interest with the Australian Nursery Industry. Plant Protection Quarterly, 15:176-178
Boissier PE, 1856. Diagnoses plantarum orientalium novarum, Lipsiae & Parisiis. Series 1, 2:8
Bolòs O de, Vigo J, 1974. Butlleti de la Institucio Catalana d’Historia Natural, Barcelona. Sect. Bot. 1, 38:69
Bossard C, 1995. A test of removal/control techniques for French broom. CalEPPC Broom Control Working Group. Unpublished report. Sacramento, USA: CalEPPC
Bossard C, 2000. Genista monspessulana (L.) L. Johnson. In: Bossard CC, Randall JM, Hoshovsky MC, eds. Invasive Plants of California’s Wildlands. Berkeley, USA: University of California Press, 203-208
Bossard C, Alverez M, Archbald G, Gibson R, Glusernkamp D, Kuo E, Jones S, Nelson L, Smith D, 1995. A French broom control project. Proceedings of the CalEPPC symposium. Sacramento, USA: CalEPPC
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