Cytisus scoparius. Common Broom.
Nat. Ord. — Fabaceae. Sex. Syst. — Diadelphia Decandria.
The Fresh Tops and Seeds.
Description. — This is a large bushy shrub, growing from three to eight feet high, with numerous, long, strait, pentangular, bright-green, smooth, tough, very flexible branches. The leaves are deciduous, scattered, stalked, ternate ; the upper ones generally simple ; the leaflets are uniform, obovate, obtuse, entire, silky when young. The flowers are numerous, papilionaceous, large, showy, of a golden-yellow color, and are supported solitarily upon short, axillary peduncles. Legume brown, flat, above an inch long, nearly smooth at the sides, but fringed with hairs at each margin, and. containing about fifteen or sixteen seeds. The swelling ovary soon splits the tube of the filaments.
History. — This is a common European shrub, cultivated in our gardens ; it grows on dry and sandy soils, and flowers in May and June. The tops of the branches and the seeds are the officinal parts ; the latter may be preserved for a longer time than the former ; all parts of the plant have a peculiar, bitter, nauseous taste, and when bruised, emit a strong, peculiar odor. They contain oils, mucilage, albumen, etc., and yield their virtues to water or alcohol. The flower-buds are sometimes pickled as a substitute for capers.
Properties and Uses. — In large doses, emetic and cathartic ; in small ones, diuretic. Used in dropsy ; said never to fail in increasing the flow of the urine ; especially beneficial in dropsy of the thorax combined with disease of the lungs. Dose, of a strong decoction, four fluidounces every hour until it produces some effect; of the pulverized seed, from ten to fifteen grains, aided by the free use of diluents. Seldom used in this country.
Off. Prep. — Decoctum Scoparii.