Common Name
Scotch Broom
Botanic Name
Cytisus scoparius
Plant Family
Introduced from Europe, scotch broom has become an invasive shrub of the East and West coastal areas, becoming very invasive in northern California into British Columbia.
Animals Affected
Horses, cattle and sheep. Human poisoning has been reported.
Scotch Broom
Toxic Principle
A variety of quinolizidine alkaloids such as anagyrine, lupanine, ammodendrine and sparteine similar to those found in Laburnum anagyroides (Golden Chain tree)
Evergreen or deciduous, perennial shrubs with ribbed branches. Leaves are palmate with 3 leaflets. Yellow pea-like flowers are produced in recemes at the ends of branches.Pea-like pods contain numerous seeds. Other species of Cytisus are sold as ornamentals.
Excessive salivation, anorexia and colic signs.
Muscle tremors and incoordination. Muscle degeneration may also occur.
Congenital Defects
Pregnant sheep grazing scotch broom in early gestation will produce lambs with skeletal malformations.
Supportive treatment when necessary should include oral administration of activated charcoal, intravenous fluids etc. Fatalities are rare!
Nervous System
Alkaloids act on the nicotinic acetylcholine receptors
Special Notes
Scotch broom is an aggressive weed and should not be planted as an ornamental shrub. References: 1. Keeler RF. Known as suspected teratogenic hazards in range plants. Clinical Toxicol 5:529-565, 1972
Scotch broom flowers
Scotch broom seed pods