Spartium junceum

Botanical Name: Spartium junceum
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Faboideae
Tribe: Genisteae
Genus: Spartium
Species: S. junceum
Kingdom:    Plantae
Order: Fabales

Common Name:Spanish broom or weaver’s broom

Habitat :Spartium junceum is  native to the Mediterranean in southern Europe, southwest Asia and northwest Africa, where it is found in sunny sites, usually on dry, sandy soils.

Description:
Spartium 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………...CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Cultivation:
Landscape Uses:  Border, Massing, Specimen. Succeeds in any well-drained but not too fertile soil in a sunny position. Prefers a lime free soil according to one report whilst another says that it thrives on alkaline and poor sandy soils. Very wind resistant, tolerating maritime exposure. Tolerates atmospheric pollution and thrives on hot dry banks. A very ornamental plant, it is hardy to between -10 and -18°c when in a suitable position. The flowers have a fragrance that has been likened to oranges. Plants can become leggy if grown in a sheltered position or too rich a soil, but they can be pruned almost to the ground and will resprout from the base. They can also be trimmed in early spring in order to keep them more compact. Plants are intolerant of root disturbance, they are best grown in pots and planted out into their permanent positions whilst still small. Plants often self-sow in Britain. Rabbits love eating this plant when it is young. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby. Special Features: Not North American native, Naturalizing, Fragrant flowers, Attractive flowers or blooms.

Propagation:             
Seed – pre-soak 24 hours in hot water and sow February/March in a greenhouse. It usually germinates well and quickly. The seed can also be autumn sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. If sufficient growth is made, it is possible to plant out in the summer, otherwise overwinter them in a cold frame and plant out in late spring of the following year.

Medicinal Uses:
The Spanish Broom in its medicinal properties closely resembles the common Broom, but is from five to six times more active. The symptoms produced by overdoses are vomiting and purging, with renal irritation. The seeds have been used to a considerable extent in dropsy, in the form of a tincture. The flowers yield a yellow dye.
The dried flowers of Spanish Broom are readily differentiated, those of the true Broom having a small bell-shaped calyx with two unequal lobes, the upper of which is bi-dentate and the lower minutely tridentate, while in Spartium junceum, the calyx is deeply cleft to the base on one side only.

By macerating the twigs a good fibre is obtained, which is made into thread in Languedoc, and its cord and a coarse sort of cloth in Dalmatia.

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The name Spartium is from the Greek word denoting ‘cardage,’ in allusion to the use of the plant.

Coronilla scorpioides (Koch) has been used medicinally as substitute for Broom.

Coronilla is the herbage of various species of the genus of that name, natives of Europe and some naturalized in North America.

The drug, at least that from Coronilla scorpioides (Koch), contains the glucoside Coronillin, a yellow powder. The action and uses of the drug are very similar to those of Broom.

The leaflets are said to produce a dye like indigo by proper fermentation, and are also reported as a laxative.

Other Uses:
The plant is used as an ornamental plant in gardens and in landscape plantings. It has gained the Royal Horticultural Society‘s Award of Garden Merit. The plant is also used as a flavoring, and for its essential oil, known as genet absolute. Its fibers have been used for cloth and it produces a yellow dye.

A fibre from the stems is a hemp substitute. It is used to make thread, cordage and coarse fabrics. It is also used for stuffing pillows etc and for making paper. The smaller stems are used in basket making. The branches are often made into brooms. An essential oil is obtained from the flowers, it is used in perfumery.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spartium
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/b/brospa73.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?LatinName=Spartium+junceum

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