A few years ago, my husband and I were riding in a bus filled with soon-to-be cruise mates from all over the world. We were on our way to Vancouver, British Columbia to board a ship bound for the Alaskan glaciers. Having lived in this area all our lives, hubby and I were surprised when we heard someone comment about the “pretty yellow flowers” all alongside the freeway.
Scotch Broom, or Scot’s Broom, is a very invasive plant and is classified as a noxious weed. It has pretty yellow flowers, yes, but it is aggressive in its growth to the point of pushing the native plants out. As well, we’ve always thought it was one of the biggest allergy and asthma aggravators in our area. Turns out, it’s only a mild allergen. It takes the rap for the main offenders this time of year, alder and grass.
The plant is native to Europe and North Africa. Urban legend says it was brought here on purpose. Sadly, that legend is true. Scotch Broom was first introduced in Washington State in the 1800’s as an ornamental plant. Now, it’s widespread from British Columbia, Canada, down through California, U.S.A.
Scotch Broom spreads by flinging its seeds for yards. Each seed (and there can be 12,000 per plant) tends to remain viable for up to 80 years. The only way to minimize its effects is to hand-pull, mow, or put a goat to work eating it. Thankfully, goats apparently do not have allergies.
As for the nice passenger on the bus, we jokingly told her she was welcome to take it all home with her. Then we filled her in on what a pain this shrub is for a lot of folks. She sagely chose to leave it behind. 🙂
So here’s my question. Do you have Scotch Broom creating havoc in your area? Or another noxious weed that sets you to sneezing as we all think Scotch Broom causes us to each May?
Ah-choo! I hope everyone is enjoying their Spring!