Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Butcher's Broom
Ruscus hypoglossum

Family: Asparagaceae
Genus: Ruscus (RUS-kus) (Info)
Species: hypoglossum (hy-poh-GLOSS-um) (Info)

Synonym:Platyruscus hypoglossum
Synonym:Ruscus alexandrinus
Synonym:Ruscus troadensis

5 members have or want this plant for trade.


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade
Light Shade
Partial to Full Shade

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
Pale Green

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring
Late Spring/Early Summer

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse
From seed; sow indoors before last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds

Click thumbnail
to view:

Thumbnail #1 of Ruscus hypoglossum by JHIGDEM

By palmbob
Thumbnail #2 of Ruscus hypoglossum by palmbob

By growin
Thumbnail #3 of Ruscus hypoglossum by growin

By growin
Thumbnail #4 of Ruscus hypoglossum by growin

By KashtanGeorge
Thumbnail #5 of Ruscus hypoglossum by KashtanGeorge

By Zaragoza
Thumbnail #6 of Ruscus hypoglossum by Zaragoza


2 positives
1 neutral
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive LaurusNobilis On Sep 30, 2013, LaurusNobilis from Tomales, CA wrote:

My experience was receiving a bouquet that contained ruscus hypoglossum (as I learned) for the green element. Very beautiful bluish-green leaves (not really leaves, as I learned) have now lasted a month, and counting. I am hoping it will decide to root, eventually.
I am responsible for maintaining the bouquets for a meditation center. I would really love to be able to grow this plant! So far I have not found any nursery that offers them nearby or anywhere in California.
The plant is not a fast grower, but what virtues! Thrives in dry shade, beautiful, very long-stemmed, (eventually), unique and interesting. BTW, I also learned that it is both medicinal, and toxic to cats.

Negative southerngal1 On Mar 7, 2012, southerngal1 from Bessemer City, NC wrote:

This plant is vert poisonous to cats. my mom bought me a rose for valentines day and this was part of the foliage in with the rose and my cats ate some of it and became very sick. he spent 5 days at the vet and ended up having surgery. The doctor told us that we might lose him because he was so sick he was vomiting, not eating, very lethargy and know he might have kindney damage. So if you have cats please get this plant out of your house we did'nt know what this plant was it came with the rose. I have done research on this and it is very poisonous to cats this plant is related to the liliaceas family which is the related to the lily family and lilys are very poisonous to cats also. So please don't have this plant in your house if you have one in your house and your cat has not ate it yet don't take the chance. Move it outside.

Positive bigbubbles On May 1, 2010, bigbubbles from Austin, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

This plant can be traced back to the 1600s. The English peasants gathered it from the understory of the forests and sold it to butchers, who used it to scour the blocks where they butchered meats. Also used to scour the floors.
The new growth is tender and can be steamed. Tastes like asparagus!

Neutral palmbob On Dec 31, 2003, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

This is an oddball plant so I of course got one for the garden.. it has itty bitty flowers in the middle of the leaves, which are themselves sort of ordinary. I got a dinky plant and it grew well for me... but then I discovered what a large shrub this can become and not so sure I want it where it is anymore.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Casa De Oro-mount Helix, California
Thousand Oaks, California
Dunnellon, Florida
Wellborn, Florida
Austin, Texas
Sugar Land, Texas
Sammamish, Washington

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