This woody shrub, Cytisus scoparius, or common broom, prevails throughout Great Britain and Western and temperate Northern Europe, but it seems not to climb to any great height on the mountains of the Alps. According to Ledebour (375) it is native to the eastern side of the Ural Mountains. Scoparius is mentioned in the earliest Italian and German herbals under the name genesta, and under the name broom it was used in Anglo-Saxon medicine as well as in the Welsh "Meddygon Myddfai" (507). The London Pharmacopeia, 1618, gave it a place, and Gerarde (262) states that Henry VIII used it as a remedy "against surfets and diseases thereof arising." Broom also enjoyed a reputation in other directions, for example, being the emblem of "The Handsome" Geoffrey, or "Plantagenet," Count of Anjou, ancestor of the Plantagenet kings of England, who wore the common broom of his country, the "planta genista," in his helmet. Scoparius in the Pharmacopeia of the United States seems, like other established foreign drugs, to have heired its reputation and obtained its position from past records in mediaeval European or Oriental times, instead of from any marked use it has enjoyed in American medicine.
The History of the Vegetable Drugs of the U.S.P., 1911, was written by John Uri Lloyd.