Scotch Broom to be Planted Along California Highways

Scotch broom planting operations along Highway 49 in Nevada County, CA
Scotch broom planting operations along Highway 49 in Nevada County, CA

Sacramento, CA — Climate change is causing the California Invasive Species Council to reevaluate its position on Scotch broom. Once considered an invasive species, this oft maligned plant is now being touted as a valuable environmental asset.

According to the press release from the California Invasive Species Advisory Committee, “We feel really bad about killing Scotch broom all these years, now that we realize its benefits. It’s extremely drought resistant, and is great for erosion control.”

“With the epic California drought leading many people to eliminate their water hungry lawns and plants, the demand for drought resistant plants is up”, explained Mark Hardenborough of the California Nursery Association, who testified in favor of removing the invasive species label for Scotch broom. “This hardy plant, which has beautiful yellow flowers much of the year, is the landscaper’s best choice for a drought resistant ornamental.”

But the most important benefit of the Scotch broom is its ability to hold together road embankments, according to the California Department of Transportation, which says it plans to replant Scotch broom along roadways this summer to prevent soil erosion.

"Introduced" Scotch broom and styrofoam cup along a North San Juan, CA Road.
“Introduced” Scotch broom and styrofoam cup along a North San Juan, CA Road.

Opponents of Scotch broom, some of whom have spent years trying to eliminate this useful plant, testified at the recent CISAC hearing that they were still going to “kill these tick-infested weeds” regardless of the new government policy. “I’ve killed thousands of those darn plants over the years, and dang blast it I’m not going to stop,” insisted an irate Chad Parker of Camptonville.

Sally Marks, outreach coordinator for CISC, understands the resistance to changing the status of the Scotch broom from enemy to friend. “It will take some time for people to stop hating this plant and beginning loving it,” she admitted. “That is why we are proposing a change to the name of the plant. After years of making people think Scotch broom is bad, we need to do some PR to make them think it’s good.”

To help change the mindset of the public after years of hating Scotch broom, the State has hired the PR firm Doúche, Bagg and Pickens to develop a new “brand” for the plant. This includes a new name for Scotch broom, and some names being floated include “yellow savior”, “forest friend”, and “cactus bush”, the latter emphasizing the low water requirements of this magnificent plant. A multi-million dollar outreach campaign, called “From Invasive to Invaluable”, will encourage the public to offer their own new names for the plant, with the person with the winning name getting a free Scotch broom landscape makeover.

“The name Scotch broom doesn’t even make sense,” explained Angela Hansen, chief council at Doúche, Bagg and Pickens who is in charge of the campaign. “It has nothing to do with the Scottish people, and you can’t make a decent broom out of it. It’s time to re-brand this species and let the people know how lucky we are that there are still some left despite years of oppression and destruction by what we now realize were misinformed people.”

“People sometimes make mistakes and kill the wrong things”, explained the CISAC press release. “It’s time we admit our mistakes and show some respect and appreciation for this wonderful plant.”

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I understand that Scotch Broom tea is not only a natural equivalent to the Spanish fly stimulant, but also will power your small garden tools…

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