Spartium junceum L. is a plant belonging to the Fabaceae family. It is typical of the gariga and Mediterranean scrubs. It is also known as the Spanish broom and is the only species of the Spartium genus.
The Ugly Broom, or Common Rooster, from a systematic point of view belongs to the Eukaryota Domain, to the Kingdom Plantae, Magnoliophyta Division, Magnoliopsida Class, Fabales Order, Fabaceae Family, Subfamily Faboideae, Tribe Genisteae and then Genera Spartium and Species S. junceum .
The name of the genus, according to some authors, would derive from the Greek words spartion = lanyard, or by speyro = lego, for the frequent use that was mainly done in the countryside, its branches, such as strings and ligaments. The specific name derives from the Latin juncus = juncus and the Latin adjective of junceus = giunchiforme, which remembers the verb juncere = join for the resemblance to the rush, which for its flexible stem like that of the broom, it is just to bind.
Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
The fragrant broom is a native species of the Mediterranean area, from southern Europe, to North Africa to the Middle East. It is, however, endemic to much of the Mediterranean basin. This species grows in sunny areas from 0 to 1200 m s.l.m ..
It prefers arid, sandy soils and can also grow on clay soils, provided they are not subject to moisture and water stagnation.
From a morphological point of view it is a plant that has a shrubbery (high from 0.5 to 3.00 m), perennial, with long stems. The barrels are green cylindrical compressible but resistant, erect, very loud and are called vermin. The leaves are of lanceolate type, the flowers are brought into live yellow racemas. Pollination is typically entomogama (by insects). The fruits are legumes which, when ripened, are blackish). Legumes contain 8-12 seeds, small and black. As far as the seeds are concerned, they are dropped by gravity at a short distance from the mother plant.
For the cultivation of the broom, the most commonly used method is seed propagation. Sowing is done in autumn (September) or even in spring (March to mid-April). To favor a high percentage of seeds germination (about 90%) in a relatively short time, we recommend one of the following treatments:
• Physical temperature cycles: hot water at 100 ° C for 23 minutes, water at 60-65 ° C for 30 minutes in water at 40 ° C for 1 hour, cold water for 40 hours.
• Chemical treatments: dive for 24 hours in a 2% solution of NaHCO3 (baking soda), 15-30 minutes in concentrated H2SO4 (sulfuric acid) with subsequent abundant wash.
As for the government of this plant, it is emphasized that rejuvenating cuts are an obstacle to flowering and fruiting. Therefore, if you want to obtain flowers and seeds, leave an unused number of plants for a few years (5-6).
Uses and Traditions –
The broomstones were already known and appreciated in the past by the Romans and the Greeks who cultivated them to attract bees for the production of honey.
According to religion, the broomstones, beating the wind, seem to have disturbed Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.
In symbology, because of the dry and extremely dry places where it grows, the broom is often associated with humility and modesty.
By the term “broom” is meant a group of bushy plants that, with yellow flowers, decorate brulli landscapes and at the same time emanate fragrant fragrances particularly intense in the surrounding environment.
Being a plant that develops its roots deeply, it can be used to consolidate soils.
In this great talk of renewable energies and raw materials, it is worth quoting just the broom that is, with its perennial spontaneous shrubs, in the Italian valleys and especially in the Mezzogiorno, where a sea of yellow flowers welcomes, from May to October, travelers. It seems that the Sun, after growing the plant, wanted to over add carotenoids, to make its flowers even more beautiful and shining, and an attractive scent.
The broom has many ecological virtues: it is a leguminous and as such grows by directly fixing the atmospheric nitrogen, without the need for fertilization of synthetic nitrogen fertilizers. With its roots, as it is said, it has a stabilizing effect on the slopes and flanks of the valleys and provides a direct and free contribution to soil protection against erosion that continues to destroy wealth causing landslides and floods. At least part of the costs and pains caused by the landslides and floods, especially in the South, could and could be avoided if they covered the flanks of the valleys with plants that hold the ground, such as broom or robinia. Broom is an interesting source of renewable natural textile fibers; the Phoenicians, the Carthaginians, the Greeks and the Romans knew it; however, its use has remained limited for many centuries on a craft and family level. During the autarchy period, knowledge was gained on broom cultivation and fiber production systems were refined. In 1940 there were about 60 ginkgles, mainly in Tuscany, with a production of 700,000 tons per year. The availability of imported jute fibers has declined the production of broomsticks that seems to revive thanks to a new fashion attention for “ecological” items such as shoes, handbags, fabrics. With technical improvements already available and with those that can be developed, broom can play an important economic and commodity role with prospects of employment in the South.
Giacomo Leopardi (1798-1837) in 1836, observing it on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius, has dedicated a famous poem to him: “You, slow brood / smells of spotted wilderness / these deserted adorned landscapes”, recognizing the patient’s resistance to the plant under adverse conditions a dry nature, in the name of the force of life. And Gabriele d’Annunzio (1863-1938), in the poem “The rain in the pinewood”, calls the “flourishing / welcomed flowers” brothers. The broom should have been loved by all the inhabitants of the Italian valleys if it is so widely used in many villages and villages. A notoriously known name is Portella della Ginestra, where the bandits of Salvatore Giuliano laid an ambush to the peasants who celebrated peacefully and festively on May 1, 1947, killing eleven, including two children. The others are joyful names like those of two countries in the province of Benevento and Potenza, of Ginestra degli Schiavoni also in the province of Benevento, of the Ginestra torrent in the hydrographic basin of the Heat, etc.
The absolute extract of flowers is a rich and opulent fragrance that has a particular buttery note. The concrete of broom is an intensely scented, brownish-brown waxy substance, recalls honey and beeswax, both in color and in perfume, concrete is obtained by means of solvents (hexane) the final product is a blend of essential oils, fatty acids and waxes. Vacuum distillation of this substance provides an essence called genêt absolu, that is, absolute broom.
In addition, a homeopathic remedy for the health of the kidneys is obtained from the broomstick extract.
Textile fiber is extracted from the vermin. The flowered branches, however, were used at home for ornamental purposes during the Pentecost. The following medicinal properties are attributed to the broth:
Antiarrhythmics: regulates the action of the heart;
Anti-rheumatic: suppresses pain due to inflammation of the joints;
Cardiotonic: adjusts the heart rate;
Catartic: Generic properties of body purification;
Diuretic: facilitates the release of urine;
Emetic: useful in case of poisoning as it causes vomiting;
Vasoconstrictor: narrows the blood vessels by increasing its pressure.
The brow contains a salt, the sparteina, responsible for the action of the heart, the scurvy, responsible for the diuretic action, and other components such as cystitis, scarring, genesis, lutein, tannic acid and caffeine and sarotamnina.
There are also sugars, gums, palmitic acid, paraffin and furfuralo.
Of the broom are used: newly harvested flowers, with which a useful diuretic infusion is used against hydropsy; seeds, which contain the same active ingredients as flowers.
It is always advisable to use the broth moderately because of its toxicity.
The broom is one of the herbs associated with the lion’s sign.
Among the contraindications of the broom remember that the broth contains tyramine, not suitable for hypertension. Among the side effects of the broom, mostly due to excessive doses, we have: vomiting and diarrhea.
Avoid taking this plant during pregnancy and lactation, and in case of kidney infections or inflammation.
The common broom contains mainly in the flower and in the seeds an alkaloid, the cytisine which in small doses has diuretic and purgative effects, but its high toxicity must not be ingested.
Therefore, it is important not to confuse it with the carbonus broom (Cytisus scoparius (L.) Link) which contains other alkaloids among which the herbicide sparteen is used to sedate the tachycardia.
However, there are numerous varieties of broom that also differ in lightweight morphological details. For this reason, do not use, without careful guidance, parts of the broom for any therapy as some species are toxic.
Preparation Method –
The broom does not have many applications in the kitchen but it is worth recalling here two recipes: the salmon recipe with broom flowers and the couscous salad with broom flowers.
For the recipe of salmon with broomsticks, proceed as follows:
say the hops of hops preserving only the tenderest part, then boiling them in salty boiling water for 2-3 ‘; drain them and let them cool. In a saucepan, pick up a spoonful of beaten pepper grains, a peel of garlic peeled and cut in half, hop buds, g 60 of oil, and the cured watercress; cook on average flame for 5-8 minutes and eventually remove the garlic.
Wipe the salmon fillet and cut it into 8 taps (about 8x6x4) by 100 gg., Then place them in a non-stick casserole on the skin, cover them with a handful of broom flowers and sprinkle with flaky salt.
Bring them on fire with the flame to the minimum and gently rub it; after 15-18 ‘lids and continue cooking for another 5-6’ without turning the salmon; Finally turn it off. In each dish put two salmon fillets with a few salt flakes, pour the watercress and hops, sprinkle with gravy and decorate with broomsticks.
For the couscous salad with broomsticks, proceed as follows:
In a bowl pour the couscous and season the grains with 1-2 tablespoons of oil.
Heat about a glass of water, which you will pour warm on the couscous. Cover the bowl with a plate and rest the couscous for a few minutes until it swells. With the help of a fork, mow and separate the grains: let it cool down.
Eat the eggs. In the meantime, clean and wash the salads, tomatoes, celery and pepper. Cut the striped salad leaves, divide the tomatoes into four cloves and slices them in a triangle, grind the chopped celery and the dill bell pepper.
Cut the cheese and divide the hard boiled eggs. Prepare the anchovy sauce, melting the fillets in a few tablespoons of oil. Season the couscous with anchovy sauce and separate the vegetables with a pinch of salt and oil.
Combine the couscous and the cheese with the salad and mix, finally decorated with eggs, black olives and a handful of broom blossoms.
– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– Treben M., 2000. The Health of the Lord’s Pharmacy, Tips and Experiences with Medicinal Herbs, Ennsthaler Publisher
– Pignatti S., 1982. Flora d’Italia, Edagricole, Bologna.
– Conti F., Abbate G., Alessandrini A., Blasi C. (eds.), 2005. An annotated checklist of the Italian vascular flora, Palombi Editore.
Caution: Pharmaceutical applications and surgical uses are indicated for information purposes only; they do not represent any prescription of a medical type; Therefore, any responsibility for their use for the purpose of healing, aesthetics or food is refused.