Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Cultivation and Naturalization of Common Broom

It is widely cultivated as an ornamental plant, with several cultivars selected for variation in flower colour, including 'Moonlight' with deep yellow flowers, 'Andreanus' and 'Firefly' with dark orange-red flowers, and growth habit, including 'Pendula' with pendulous branchlets.

It has been introduced into several other continents outside its native range and is classified as a noxious invasive species in California and the Pacific Northwest in North America, Australia and New Zealand. It commonly grows in disturbed areas along utility and transportation right-of-ways. The prolific growth of this species after timber harvest inhibits reforestation by competing with seedling trees. It is estimated that in Oregon it is responsible for USD$47 million in lost timber production each year in that state. Some attempts have been made to develop biological controls in affected areas, using three broom-feeding insects, the psyllid Arytainilla spartiophylla, the beetle Bruchidius villosus, and the moth Leucoptera spartifoliella.

In New Zealand broom is estimated to cost farmers NZD$10 million and the forestry industry NZD$90 million. Biological control for broom has been investigated since the mid 1980s with a number of species being trialled. They include the broom twig miner (Leucoptera spartifoliella), the broom seed beetles (Bruchidius villosus) the broom gall mite (Aceria genistae) the sap-sucking broom psyllid (Arytainilla spartiophila) and recently the broom leaf beetle (Gonioctena olivacea) and the broom shoot moth (Agonopterix assimilella).


See also: Flower Malaysia, Malaysia Flower, Florist KL

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