Spiny broom

Common name:

  • Spiny broom

Scientific name:

  • Calicotome spinosa (L.) Link

Plant status

Catchment management authority boundaries

Regionally prohibited in the North East, Port Phillip and Western Port catchments.

Regionally controlled in the Wimmera and Corangamite catchments.

Restricted in the Mallee, Goulburn Broken, Glenelg Hopkins, West Gippsland, North Central, East Gippsland catchments.

Plant biology


Shrub (or bush) Single Spiny broom plant


Spiny broom is a perennial shrub.


Stems of spiny broom are multi-branched from the base and armed with sharp, rigid spines to 75mm long.

Young stems remain green for the first 2 to 3 years before turning brown.Spiny broom infestation


Spiny broom leaves are dark green or grey-green, hairy underneath and may occur in clusters.

Leaves are alternately arranged and are divided into three oblong to oval-shaped leaflets 5 to 10mm long, with the middle leaf being the largest .

The plant is deciduous but may also lose leaves under severe stress.


Spiny broom flowers are bright yellow, 12 to 15mm long and clustered towards the end of branches. Spiny broom flowers in spring and summer usually when it is 2 or more years old.

Hand holding yellow flower of Spiny broom


The fruit of spiny broom is grey-black or dark reddish-brown in colour.

Fruit are smooth, flattened pods about 40mm long with two pronounced ridges along one edge ending in a short spine. Pods contain between 3 to 15 seeds.

Growth and lifecycle

Method of reproduction and dispersal

Spiny broom is dispersed locally when its seeds are ejected from the pods during hot sunny weather. It is dispersed over further distances when it contaminates equipment, machinery, produce, animals and mud.

Seedbank propagule persistence

Little is known about the seedbank and propagule persistence of spiny broom, but closely related species like English Broom can produce over 12,000 seeds annually, with seeds able to last up to 30 years in the soil.

Preferred habitat

Spiny broom prefers warm-temperate regions growing on slightly acidic, dry, rocky soils in areas with moderate rainfall.

Growth calendar

The icons on the following table represent the times of year for flowering, seeding, germination, the dormancy period of Spiny broom and also the optimum time for treatment.

Flowering          Flowering iconFlowering icon
SeedingSeeding icon          Seeding icon
   Germination iconGermination iconGermination icon       
Treatment       Treatment iconTreatment iconTreatment iconTreatment iconTreatment icon


Impact on ecosystems and waterways

Spiny broom can out-compete native plants and has an impact on native ecosystems, waterways, and agricultural land.

Agricultural and economic impacts

Dense infestations of spiny broom reduce grazing potential.


Prescribed measures for the control of noxious weeds:

  • application of a registered herbicide
  • cultivation
  • physical removal.

Read about prescribed measures for the control of noxious weeds.

Other management techniques

Changes in land use practices and spread prevention may also support spiny broom management after implementing the prescribed measures.

Page last updated: 26 Jun 2020