Being a member of the pea and bean family, like gorse, it can grow in poor, sandy soil because of the amazing things that go on around its roots where the plant offers a home for bacteria which in return provide their host, in this case the broom plant, with nutrients.
Back up top, the branches are long and spindly-looking without spines or even much in the way of leaves, and they are ideal for making sweeping brooms, hence the name. Another claim to fame is that back in the day, the originator of the Plantagenet dynasty many of whose kings played crucial roles in Northampton’s history and would have hunted in Moulton Park, including our English kings Henry II, Richard (the ‘Lionheart’), John and so on up until the last, Richard III, chose the broom plant, “genet” in French, “planta genista” in medieval Latin, to be his symbol.
Later in the season the long dark pods appear. Listen out for their explosive pop when they burst on hot summer days!