Summer Cypress (Bassia scoparia)

Annual
Chenopodium scoparia. Kochia scoparia. (L.)Schrad. K. trichophila.
Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Summer Cypress
Bassia scoparia
Chenopodiaceae

The whole plant is used as a broom[61, 151]. The green form is used[1].

  • Medicinal Use

    Antibacterial, antifungal[178].

    The leaves and fruits are cardiotonic and diuretic[218, 240].

    The stems are used in the treatment of dysentery, diarrhoea and dyspepsia[218].

    The seed is antiphlogistic, astringent and diuretic[176, 218]. It is used to treat skin infections such as eczema ad scabies, and diseases of the urinary tract[176, 218, 279]. The seed contains harmine, which can have adverse effects upon the gastro-intestinal tract and the central nervous system[279].

  • Edible Use

    Young leaves – cooked[105, 177]. A delicious taste, they are used as a vegetable[179]. A nutritional analysis is available[218]. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity.

    Seed – dried and ground into a powder then mixed with cereals when making bread, biscuits etc[61, 105, 177]. Very small and fiddly to use, it is also not a very reliable crop in Britain due to its late season of flowering[K]. On a zero moisture basis, the seed contains 20.4 – 27.5% protein, 8.8 – 16% fat and 3.4 – 9.4% ash[218].

  • Cautionary Notes

    Plants contain some saponins and should not be eaten in large quantities. Saponins are a toxin found in many of our daily foods such as many beans. They are usually present in quantities too small to be concerned about and are also very poorly absorbed by the body, tending to pass straight through without causing any problems. Saponins are much more toxic to some creatures, such as fish, and hunting tribes have traditionally put large quantities of them in streams, lakes etc in order to stupefy or kill the fish[K].

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – sow spring in a greenhouse and plant out in May. The seed can also be sown in situ in late April or early May.
An easily grown plant[200], it succeeds in ordinary garden soil[1]. Succeeds in any reasonably fertile light well-drained but moisture retentive soil in a sunny position[200]. A frost tender plant, it is grown as a spring-sown annual in Britain[1]. This species is cultivated in Korea for its use as a broom[151]. The subspecies B. scoparia trichophylla. (Schmeiss.)Schinz.&Thell. is the form most often found in cultivation in Britain[200].
Europe to Western N. America.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.