Spartium junceum

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Spartium junceum L.

alt=Description of Spartium junceum Salagou ruffes.JPG picture.
plant growing in ruffes (deep red clay)
Order Fabales
Family Fabaceae
Genus Spartium

2n = 48-52

Origin : Mediterranean area

wild and cultivated

English {{{english}}}
French {{{french}}}


close-up of flowers

Popular names

  • English: Spanish broom
  • French: genêt d'Espagne
  • Spanish: retama de olor, gayomba, gallomba, ginesta, ginestra
  • Catalan: ginesta, ginestera
  • Portuguese: giesta, giesteira
see French local names in Rolland.


Spartium junceum L. (1753)


  • Genista juncea (L.) Scop. (1771)

possible confusions :

  • other plants known as sparte or spart :
  • other plants called genêt and used for brooms :




  • fiber

The entire stems can be used as ties (for grapevine), or bundled as brooms.

The fiber can be extracted and processed into textiles. Raw textiles are used for wrapping agricultural products, and fine textiles give linen.

A factory in Aspiran (Hérault, France) processed the fiber from 1942 to 1960, and sowing of Spanish broom was encouraged in the arid areas of Lodève and Clermont-l'Hérault (Hérault), characterized by a deep red clay called ruffes.

  • fodder

The green foliage was eaten by sheep and goats, but when eaten alone in big quantities, it can be noxious.

  • medicinal

Several uses are documented, but the plant is highly toxic (particularly flowers, seeds).

  • ornemental

The plant is commonly grown in gardens up to temperate areas, due to its beautiful flowers and shape.


  • Aussel, Pierre, 1986-1987. La toile de la maison ou l'or des ruffes. Etudes sur l'Hérault, 3.
  • Aussel, Pierre & Parado, Claude. Autrefois la toile de genêt au cœur de l'Hérault. on line at Tela Botanica
  • Broussonnet, Pierre, 1787. Observation sur la culture et les usages économiques du genêt d'Espagne. Journal du Languedoc, 15 février 1787.
  • Olivier, Sylvain , 2005. Le genêt textile (XVIIe-XIXe siècle). Une dynamique agricole en Lodévois. Histoire & Sociétés Rurales, 23(1): 137-168. on line.
  • Olivier, Sylvain (dir.), Llaty, Catherine, Chabal, Lucie, Cullin-Mingaud, Magali, Durand, Aline, Jaudon, Bruno, Martin, Philippe, Vallat, François, Bernard, Régine, Boucherat, Toomaï, 2009. Le genêt textile. Plante sauvage, plante cultivée. (Les cahiers du Lodévois-Larzac, 34). Lodève, Communauté de communes Lodévois & Larzac. 144 p. A scholar and excellent synthesis about industrial use of Spanish broom as a fiber in Hérault (France).
  • Perdomo, Molina, Antonio y Cubas Hernández, Fátima, 2002. Las fibras vegetales utilizadas tradicionalmente en el cultivo de la viña en Canarias. Una visión etnográfica y geográfica. IV Jornadas Técnicas Vitivinícolas de Canarias