The natives of Brittany also have selected it for their emblem, and appear to hold it in high estimation. In their popular songs the lover compares his loved one to "the yellow flower of the broom".

"Evel ar bleun melen balan." *

While a brother bard, in a popular song of Wales, called, Y Fwyalchen, or, The Blackbird, makes a somewhat similar comparison:-

"Lliw'r Banadl melyn ei gwallt." * "The colour of the yellow broom is the hair of her head".

And, again, in that which relates the tale of the betrothed Azenor the Pale, we are told that:-

"La petite Azenor etait assise, Aupres de la fontaine, Vetue d'une robe de soie jaune, Au bord de la fontaine, Toute seule,

Assemblant des fleurs de genet, En faire un bouquet, etc." †

In short, the broom plays a conspicuous part in all affairs connected with a Breton marriage, the "intermediary" chosen by the contracting parties - usually the father of the bridegroom - is designated for the time, the Baz-balan, or "Broom walking-stick," from the circumstance of his always carrying a stick of this shrub with him when engaged on his mission. The broom is known to be a most exhaustive crop, so that a hedge of this plant will impoverish the land on each side of it to a most unlooked-for extent; a circumstance that, perhaps, accounts for the fact recorded by Sir T. Dick Lauder, that after the parent-plant has passed away, some years elapse before the seeds shed around it will vegetate; though this is not the case if the seeds be sown in a new soil. It is, therefore, a respite afforded by Nature; or, rather, a proof that the soil has been deprived by the old plant of such constituent parts as are essential to the development of the seedling, and which time alone can replace; and it also serves to throw a light on the circumstance, that though we usually see all the symptoms of a poor soil where the broom flourishes, yet there is truth in the popular belief that its occurrence is a proof of fertility, since a plant of so exhaustive a nature could not be supplied by a very barren soil, although, as we have before said, it prefers a light and gravelly one.

To this also the old proverb, "There is gold under the broom," must point: for the usually alleged reason - namely, that grass is found beneath its shelter at an earlier season than in the open fields, is very insufficient, and will equally apply to any sheltering brush-wood or other plant. In Flanders, and especially in the vicinity of Ghent, however, the broom is sown to improve and consolidate sandy ground; a practice which might, perhaps, be followed with great advantage on some of our coasts; the more so, as the whole tribe of leguminous plants appear to be very ser-viceable in resisting, by the matting of their roots, the encroachments of tide and wind on a sandy shore. In the Eastern desert of Egypt the broom (Spartium monospermum, the Ruttum of the Arabs), grows and flourishes: occurring in great abundance between the Nile and the Isthmus of Suez, a little to the N. of latitude 30°.The broom forms an excellent pasture, for sheep, and is valuable on account of its being green "the winter through." The naturalist of Berwick-upon-Tweed was informed by an intelligent farmer, that the sheep invariably devour the pods first, which produce a kind of in-toxication, the symptoms of which are, happily, of but short duration, and do not appear to injure the health of the animals.

Men also are similarly af-fected by them, so that, as he remarks, the circum-stance explains the, apparently mysterious, lines of Allan Ramsey, which speak of the ale brewed by a certain landlady:-

* "Chants populaires de la Bretagne," as collected by the Comte de la Villemarque.

† Zenorik oa tal feunten Ha gant-hi eur bronz sei melen; Ar lez ar feunten, hi eunan O pak-ad 6no bleun balan Da ober eur boukedik koant," etc.

Villemarque, op. cit.

"Some say it was with pith (pips?) of broom Which she stowed in her masking-loom, Which in our heads raised sic a soom".

Broom-twigs however are, or were, not unfre-quently used, in equal proportions with hops, for the purpose of imparting a bitter to beer; whether with the same effect I know not. Every part of the plant is exceedingly bitter; and every part, like many another bitter thing, is exceedingly useful.

The twigs infused, are a very popular remedy for dropsy; and are admitted into the Materia Medica, and prescribed by our physicians as a valuable diuretic. The seeds are said to possess emetic, as well as cathartic, properties. The branches have been used for tanning leather, which, of course gives proof of the presence of an astringent principle. The flower-buds, just before they begin to shew the yellow, are pickled in imitation of capers, and the seeds, according to M. Pagot des Charnes, make an excellent coffee. The wood, when it is suffered to attain to a sufficient age, is much prized by cabinetmakers, who employ it in veneering. The twigs are used for thatching cottages and ricks. The fibres were formerly converted, in this country, into a strong cloth, just as they are at the present day by the peasants of Lower Languedoc, and especially of Lodeve, where the broom furnishes almost all the linen in domestic use; while the refuse from the manufacture supplies the manufacturers with firing.* These fibres also make an excellent paper; and finally, the whole plant, when reduced to ashes, yields a serviceable, and very pure, alkaline salt.

So that, certainly, the broom must not be considered useless in its beauty.

The mention of the cloth produced from its fibres will naturally draw our attention to the names by which our broom is known. Many botanical works still refer it, with Linnaeus, to Spartium,† a name signifying cordage (oraprov), which was applied by the Greeks to a plant, considered to be the Spanish broom (S. junceum) whose fibre is frequently sup-posed to be employed in the manufacture of the much celebrated alpergates, or woven shoes, of Spain; but which, I believe, are really formed of a grass (Macrochloa tenacissima). The name, however, is extended to all such vegetables as might be em-ployed in a manner similar to flax and hemp,* im-plying, in fact, any fibrous plant. The single species which is indigenous to Britain, is now, however, more usually included under the head of Cytisus (C. scopdrius, of Hooker) or of Sarothdmnus; while, as I have said, it shares almost throughout Europe its historic name of genista with the bright and pretty little Green-weeds, so well known for their valuable dyeing properties.

* Beckman's "Hist, of Inventions".

† S. scoparius.

The same may be said with regard to the Welsh name, fanadl; which, simply signifying a plant with pointed twigs or branches, is indifferently applied to the two forms of genista: the prefixed syllable, however, to a certain extent distinguishing between them. Thus while Corfanadl (corr, dwarf), and Banadlos {Man, † small) appear to be used to designate either the hairy green-weed (G. pilosa), or the petty-whin (G. anglica), Aurfanadl (Aur, gold), seems to belong exclusively to the broom (Cytisus), as does also the poetic and prettily expressive name of Melynog-y-waun, "Goldfinch of the meadow".

The Cytisus scopdrius is doubtless familiar to most of our readers, as its frequent introduction into gardens and shrubberies, of which it forms a conspicuous ornament, has made it known to those whose lot has not been cast in its na-tive wilds; yet it is in its natural habi-tat that we must seek for it in its greatest beauty, and see its golden, and bee-attracting blossoms in their truest splendour; and then we shall indeed, acknow-ledge it to be a poet's blossom, a flower which may well have inspired many an ancient minne-singer, many a joy-ous troubadour, to sing its praise, or herald its fame. The greatest novice in botanic lore can feel no doubt as to the identity of the plant when he meets with it, distinguish-ed as it is by its large bright flowers, its broad keel, and wide-spread standard and wings, as well as by its long, straight, green, smooth and pliant branches, and its flattened, and many-seeded, pods, which, as Sir J. E. Smith remarks, are a little hairy at the margin. Its leaves, which are deciduous, though the whole aspect of the plant is that of an evergeen, are ternate below, but become single, or as botanists term it, "simple," towards the tops of the branches.

Its seeds are shining, and slightly flat-tened; and the whole plant, which on commons and exposed hill-sides scarcely rises to a height of more than three feet, or perhaps trails on the ground, is frequently seen in some sunny and sheltered copse to form a grove of eight, or even ten feet high, which blossoms in the early summer time like a molten sea of gold.

* Beckman's "History of Inventions".

† B, F, and M are reciprocally mutable in the Welsh.

Common Broom.   Cytisus scoparius.

Common Broom. - Cytisus scoparius.