Sweet Broom, Easter Broom
Genista x spachiana
Possibly a hybrid between…
Genista stenopetala x Genista canariensis
Genista spachiana Webb is the correct and accepted name for this species of Broom. It was named and described by Philip Barker Webb in Botanical Magazine in 1845. It was also commonly known and sold as Cytisus spachianus (Webb) Kuntze. That species was named and described by Carl Ernst Otto Kuntze in Revisio Generum Plantarum in 1891.
For many years, several species of plants have been moved around quite a lot from one genus to another. It is quite obvious Genista spachiana is one of them, being also listed as Cytisus spachiana. Many reliable websites are still using that name because they haven’t updated to Genista. Well, supposedly it doesn’t matter which genus name they use, as long as it was validly published.
The genus, Genista L., was named and described by Carl von Linnaeus in the second volume of the first edition of Species Plantarum in 1753.
Plants of the World Online by Kew still lists 137 accepted species in the Genista genus (as of 1/24/21 when I am updating this page). It is a member of the plant family Fabaceae with 767 genera. Those numbers could change as updates are made.
There are several “brooms” in other genera. Cytisus is still an accepted genus with 26 accepted species (according to Plants of the World Online, as of 12-25-18).
The name Genista racemosa is an illegitimate scientific name and nowhere to be found on any plant database, even as a synonym.
I bought my Sweet Broom from Lowe’s in Greenville, Mississippi in April 2012. I was so impressed with the flowers and neatness of the plant that I didn’t read the label until I got home. I put it in a planter then read the label. It said this plant COULD reach 6′ tall x 6′ wide!!! The label also said it was a Genista racemosa.
After I sold the mansion I moved back to the family farm in mid-Missouri in February 2013. I started a new blog and did further research about the Genista racemosa. Apparently, Genista racemosa is NOT an official accepted scientific name and it is hard to find which species this plant really is. There are many websites offering this plant for sale as Genista racemosa.
I did find a very interesting article from Plant Right that pretty much explained it all. According to Plant Right, this plant is actually Genista x spachiana. The “x” of course means that it is a hybrid, possibly between Genista stenopetala x Genista canariensis (both natives of the Canary Islands). In other words, Genista spachiana, which is an accepted species name, would actually be a sterile hybrid. But, there is a catch.
As long as you plant your Genista x spachiana, G. spachiana, G. racemosa, or a Cytisus by the same names, it will be sterile. BUT, if you plant them around other Genista species, they may very well produce fertile seeds. Apparently, no studies have been conducted to support this theory one way or another.
I ran across another great article published on GREEN BLOG. GREEN BLOG is from the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
Gardening Know How saying, “One of the more common sweet brooms (Cytisus racemosus syn. Genista racemosa)”…. OK, so let’s look at Cytisus racemosus… Of course, there is no species by that name listed on Plants of The World Online. BUT the 2013 version of The Plant List says that Cytisus racemosus Hort.-Cf. Marnock IS an accepted name. Then again, The Plant List os no longer maintained…
I fudged a little and swayed to check out the listing for Sweet Broom on the Monrovia website. It says Sweet Broom is Cytisus x spachianus. They list 10 different “brooms” with the genus name Cytisus and 3 with the genus name Genista! I typed in “broom” to see where that lead and the search came up with 10 plants INCLUDING ANOTHER GENUS by the name of Spartium… What the heck is a Spartium?
Of course, I had to check out that genus name… Low and behold, Plants of the World Online says Spartium L is a correct and accepted genus and the flowers are, once again, similar to Genista and Cytisus flowers.
The Learn 2 Grow website says, “Some believe that this semi-evergreen shrub is actually a naturally occurring hybrid between two Genista from the Canary Islands, Genista stenopetalus and Genista canariensis, but this is not confirmed.” GEEZ!!! That’s why Monrovia and a few other websites list their plants as Genista x spachiana or Cytisus x spachianus. Hmmm… I have been having trouble with links to Learn 2 Grow opening… HOPEFULLY, someday they will work again because I use their site A LOT!
I ran across this excerpt from the book titled “An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Gardening” written by Walter P. Wright in 1913 on Google…
Then, of course, there is Dave’s Garden. They currently list an Easter Broom as Genista spachiana, but when I updated this page before it said Genista x spachiana.
Family: Fabaceae (Leguminosae)
Origin: Canary Islands
Zones: USDA Zones 9a-11 (20 to 40° F/-6.6 to 4.5° C)
Size: 5-8’ tall x 5-8’ wide
Light: Full sun
Soil: Average well-drained
I am not sure I will grow this plant again, but it is a possibility. I haven’t seen it for sale locally here in mid-Missouri. I will say it was a beautiful and profuse bloomer and mine stayed small. Maybe because it was in a planter.
I hope you enjoyed this page and maybe found it useful. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, I would like to hear from you. Please click on “like” if you visited this page. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. 🙂 You can check out the links below for further reading. The links take you directly to the genus and species of this plant. If you notice I made an error, please let me know.