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The Cytisus scoparius plant typically grows from 1 to 3 metres, rarely 4 metres, with main stems up to 5 cm thick, rarely 10 cm. I t is the hardiest species of broom, tolerating temperatures down to about -25ºC.
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 US$47 million in lost timber production each year. 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 NZ$10 million and the forestry industry NZ$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 broom shoot moth (Agonopterix assimilella).
Gorse, furze, furse or whin (Ulex) is a genus of about 20 plant species of spiny evergreen shrubs in the subfamily Faboideae of the pea family Fabaceae, native to western Europe and northwest Africa, with the majority of species in Iberia.
Gorse is closely related to the brooms, and like them it has green stems and very small leaves and is adapted to dry growing conditions. However, it differs in its extreme spininess, with the shoots being modified into branched spines 4 centimeters long, which almost wholly replace the leaves as the plant's functioning photosynthetic organs. The leaves of young plants are trifoliate, but are later reduced to scales or small spines. All the species have yellow flowers, some with a very long flowering season.
In many areas of North America, southern South America, Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii and California the Common Gorse, introduced as an ornamental plant or hedge, has become naturalized and a weed and invasive species due to its aggressive seed dispersal; it has proved very difficult to eradicate and detrimental in native habitats.