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simonov

Those lovely-smelling yellow flowers along the highway

I have noticed this year a profusion of bushes with yellow flowers along the Baldy Road as well as along Hwy 38 between the turnoff to Forest Falls and and Angelus Oaks.  The flowers smell great, a sweet fragrance a little like cookies baking.

20100626-27_johns_meadow 027_alt

They are distributed right along the highway rights of way, and don't seem to be growing above or below the road, so I suspect they are non-native and part of some highway beautification effort.  They smell so good I wouldn't mind having a few in my yard.  Anyone know what they are?
Mike P

Yes, they plants are Spanish Broom. They are non-native and were part of highway projects. I understand they were used to help stabilize hillsides(?)
PackerGreg

The Spanish Broom is invasive, but so far it is typically confined to disturbed areas. That is, where human activity has removed the native plants, such as roadsides. Similar to how Castor Bean spreads. They both have trouble competing with the chaparral. But you will see Spanish Broom wandering into other areas, especially after fire.

I think it smells like grape Kool-Aid, not that there's anything wrong with that.
simonov

I noticed the business about it being invasive in the Wikipedia article, but you only see them on the highway shoulders, never above and never below.

Apparently, seed pods burst in the autumn.  I will try to remember to gather some seeds then.

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