July 6, 2020

Clean Sweep

Cytisus scoparius 'Moonlight'

Janine Pineo Photo | Cytisus scoparius 'Moonlight'

Do a search for this plant online and chances are you will think it is the worst invader since kudzu and milfoil. But it would be a mistake to dismiss this cultivar, Cytisus scoparius ‘Moonlight,’ especially since the cultivars are, well, more cultivated and not invasive bullies. The creamy pealike blossoms of this Scotch broom put on a show in May, covering the branches completely and delicately perfuming the air. The shrub, which is hardy to Zone 5, can grow up to 8 feet tall, with a spread of 6 to 8 feet. The ones pictured are growing in Dedham and are about 4 feet tall. According to Surry Gardens, where these specimens came from, Scotch broom is disease-resistant and salt-tolerant, making it a good choice on the coast (and for the invasive species, the reason why it was planted stateside in the first place: to help save the shoreline). The plant can be pruned after blooming to keep it in shape. And the common name? It would seem that the broom plant was named as such because back in the old country it was used to make brooms. Sometimes, you just can’t read too much into those common names.

Cytisus scoparius 'Moonlight' - Scotch broom

Janine Pineo Photo | Cytisus scoparius 'Moonlight' - Scotch broom