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British Broom

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Spanish (American) Broom

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Sarothamnus scoparius, medieval name Planta genista.

The profusion of flowers on this plant has made it a symbol of plenty and of good luck. A bundle of green broom was often a token at country weddings. Broom twigs were once used for sweeping, but it was forbidden to take these into the house in May, because -

If you sweep the house with broom in May,
You'll sweep the head of the house away.

For herbal applications, it is important to distinguish between Spanish Broom, Spartium junceum, and true broom, since Spanish broom is poisonous. It may not kill you, but it will make you very uncomfortable for quite a few days.

The leaves are the distinguishing features between them. Notice that the Spanish broom leaves are long and narrow rather like pine needles, whereas the leaves of true broom are more oval in shape and in bunches of three.

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The Castle
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Brigid's Garden
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Moyra's Web Jewels