Open the Advanced Search

Black Broom

Cytisus nigricans

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
For more information please download the BSBI Code of Conduct PDF document.


Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Fabaceae (Pea)
Also in this family:
Alpine Milk-vetch, Alsike Clover, Birdsfoot, Birdsfoot Clover, Bird's-foot Trefoil, Bithynian Vetch, Bitter Vetch, Black Medick, Bladder Senna, Broad Bean, Broad-leaved Everlasting Pea, Bur Medick, Burrowing Clover, Bush Vetch, Clustered Clover, Common Broom, Common Gorse, Common Laburnum, Common Restharrow, Common Vetch, Crimson Clover, Crown Vetch, Dragon's Teeth, Dwarf Gorse, Dyer's Greenweed, False Acacia, Fine-leaved Vetch, Fodder Vetch, Garden Lupin, Garden Pea, Goat's Rue, Grass Vetchling, Greater Bird's-foot Trefoil, Hairy Bird's-foot Trefoil, Hairy Greenweed, Hairy Tare, Hairy Vetchling, Hairy-fruited Broom, Haresfoot Clover, Hop Trefoil, Horseshoe Vetch, Hungarian Vetch, Kidney Vetch, Knotted Clover, Large Trefoil, Lesser Trefoil, Lucerne, Marsh Pea, Meadow Vetchling, Narrow-leaved Bird's-foot Trefoil, Narrow-leaved Everlasting Pea, Narrow-leaved Vetch, Nootka Lupin, Norfolk Everlasting Pea, Orange Birdsfoot, Petty Whin, Purple Milk-vetch, Purple Oxytropis, Red Clover, Reversed Clover, Ribbed Melilot, Rough Clover, Russell Lupin, Sainfoin, Scorpion Senna, Scottish Laburnum, Sea Clover, Sea Pea, Sickle Medick, Slender Bird's-foot Trefoil, Slender Tare, Slender Trefoil, Small Melilot, Small Restharrow, Smooth Tare, Spanish Broom, Spanish Gorse, Spiny Restharrow, Spotted Medick, Spring Vetch, Strawberry Clover, Suffocated Clover, Sulphur Clover, Tall Melilot, Toothed Medick, Tree Lupin, Tuberous Pea, Tufted Vetch, Twin-headed Clover, Two-flowered Everlasting Pea, Upright Clover, Upright Vetch, Western Clover, Western Gorse, White Broom, White Clover, White Lupin, White Melilot, Wild Liquorice, Wood Vetch, Yellow Oxytropis, Yellow Vetch, Yellow Vetchling, Zigzag Clover
Deciduous shrub
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
140 centimetres tall
Gardens, roadsides, wasteland.

Yellow, 5 petals
Bright yellow, pea-like flowers which appear in leafless spikes.
Pea-like pods.
A short shrub with small trefoil, linear leaves.
The flowers are fragrant.
Other Names:
Black Scotch Broom, False Heather, Spike Broom.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Cytisus nigricans, also known as the black broom or black Scotch broom, is a species of flowering plant in the pea family (Fabaceae). It is native to the western Mediterranean region, including Spain, Portugal, and Morocco. The plant is an evergreen shrub that grows to a height of up to 2 meters. It has dark green, narrow leaves and small, yellow flowers that bloom in the spring. C. nigricans is often used as an ornamental plant in gardens and is also valued for its ability to thrive in dry, rocky soil. However, it can be invasive in some areas and has the potential to displace native vegetation.


Black Broom (Cytisus nigricans) is a deciduous shrub that is native to the Mediterranean region and Western Europe. It is a member of the Fabaceae family and is known for its attractive appearance and fast growth rate.

One of the most notable features of Black Broom is its dark, almost black bark. This is where it gets its name, as the bark resembles that of a black broom. The shrub can grow up to 6 meters tall and has thin branches that are covered in small, green leaves. In the spring, it produces yellow, pea-like flowers that are highly attractive to bees and other pollinators.

Black Broom is a popular choice for gardens and landscapes due to its hardiness and versatility. It can grow in a variety of soil types and is drought-tolerant, making it ideal for low-maintenance gardens. Additionally, it is often used as a hedge or screen plant, as it grows quickly and provides excellent coverage.

Despite its attractive appearance and low-maintenance nature, Black Broom does have some drawbacks. It is considered an invasive species in some areas, as it can quickly spread and displace native vegetation. This is particularly true in areas with moist soils and moderate temperatures.

In terms of maintenance, Black Broom is relatively easy to care for. It should be pruned regularly to maintain its shape and control its size. Pruning also encourages new growth, which can lead to more flowers in the spring. Additionally, it is a good idea to remove any dead or diseased branches, as this will help prevent the spread of any potential diseases.

Another benefit of Black Broom is that it is relatively resistant to pests and diseases. This makes it a good choice for gardeners who are looking for a low-maintenance plant that doesn't require a lot of care. However, it is important to keep an eye out for any signs of damage or disease, as this can quickly spread if not addressed.

Black Broom is also a popular choice for landscaping due to its fast growth rate. It can be used as a hedge or screen plant, or it can be trained to grow as a small tree. The shrub's thin branches and small leaves make it a good choice for areas where privacy is desired, as it provides good coverage without blocking too much light.

It's worth noting that the invasive nature of Black Broom in some areas has led to efforts to control its spread. In some regions, it is illegal to plant or sell this species, and local authorities may take steps to remove it from natural areas. Gardeners who are considering planting Black Broom should research its status in their area and consider alternative species if it is considered invasive.

In terms of design, Black Broom can be used in a variety of different styles, from traditional to modern. Its dark bark and yellow flowers make it a great choice for creating contrast in the garden, and it can be combined with other plants to create a variety of interesting and attractive arrangements. For example, it can be planted along with other Mediterranean species like lavender, rosemary, and santolina, to create a drought-tolerant garden with a Mediterranean feel.

In terms of climate, Black Broom is well-suited to Mediterranean climates, where it can thrive in the hot, dry summers and mild winters. However, it can also grow in cooler climates, as long as it is protected from frost and given enough sunlight. It is important to note that it is not suitable for areas with extremely cold winters, as it may not survive in these conditions.

In conclusion, Black Broom is a popular and versatile shrub that can be used in a variety of gardens and landscapes. While it is considered invasive in some areas, it is relatively easy to care for and can be used to create a range of different design styles. However, gardeners should consider its status in their area and choose alternative species if it is not suitable for their climate or local conditions.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

Click to open an Interactive Map