Stinging butcher's broom

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Stinging butcher's broom
Butcher's broom (Ruscus aculeatus L.)

Butcher's broom ( Ruscus aculeatus L. )

Order : Asparagales (Asparagales)
Family : Asparagaceae (Asparagaceae)
Subfamily : Nolinoideae
Genre : Butcher's broom ( ruscus )
Type : Stinging butcher's broom
Scientific name
Ruscus aculeatus

The Blazing butcher's broom ( Ruscus aculeatus ), also Spiny butcher's broom or Dornmyrte called one's plants art that the asparagus plants belongs (Asparagaceae). It is mainly native to the Mediterranean Sea and the Middle East and was named Medicinal Plant of the Year 2002.


The butcher's broom is an evergreen, between 20 and 80, rarely up to 90 centimeters high subshrub . The apparent leaves of the plant are so-called phyllocladia , flat, widened short shoots . They are arranged in two lines, elongated and rigid with a clear vein , up to 2.5 centimeters long and tapering to a narrow, piercing spike tip. The actual leaves of the plant are small, scale-like, brownish-skinned and triangular to lanceolate.

Flowering time is from March to May. The flowers and fruits stand individually on the phyllocladia, which emerge from the axillary buds of the scale leaves. The inflorescence is small, up to 2 millimeters wide and greenish-white, the inner bracts are significantly smaller than the outer ones.


The butcher's broom is considered slightly to poisonous; the berries are poisonous .

The main active ingredients are the saponins contained in the berries , especially ruscogenin .

Symptoms of poisoning: In children, gastrointestinal symptoms, e.g. Sometimes occurred with somnolence . Such observations were made particularly in France and Switzerland .

One cat experienced repeated vomiting, diarrhea, and apathy after eating 4-5 berries.


The butcher's broom is a widespread and typical species of the Mediterranean and Pontic flora. It is native to southern Europe from Spain to southern Russia, but radiates in the west to England, in the east to Hungary and Romania. Outside of Europe, it is found in North Africa and the Middle East . The butcher's broom can also be found at the southern foot of the Alps , in Valais , Ticino and South Tyrol . He is not at home in Germany or Austria.

The xerophile plant likes warm, dry stony slopes in bushes and forests, occasionally it is found at altitudes of up to 1000 meters. On stony ground, it forms in oak and beech forests and between hornbeam in the south undergrowth . In cool locations, the plant can only survive in the protection of other plants, in open vegetation it freezes quickly to death.


The specific epithet aculeatus (Latin for “prickly, sharp”) refers to the prickly phyllocladia. Various varieties or subspecies have been described ( barrelieri , burgitensis , laxus ), but these are mostly discarded as site forms.


Butcher's broom berries

The butcher's broom was already known to Pliny (XVI, 68 f.) As a food and asparagus substitute (in Latin as bruscum ) , and in Ticino the shoots were still eaten in modern times. Brooms were made out of the branches.

The butcher's broom was often used in Germany in winter because of its decorative effect in flower arrangements, in South Tyrol it was used as a grave border.

Medicinal plant

The dried subterranean organs are used as medicinal drugs

Active ingredients: Steroid - saponins Ruscin and ruscoside with aglyca Neoruscogenin and Ruscogenin (as ruscogenins called), triterpenoids and little essential oil .

Application: The ruscogenins are said to have capillary-sealing, venous tone-increasing, anti-inflammatory and dehydrating properties.

The drug itself is not in use, but numerous ready-made preparations contain standardized extracts or isolated ruscogenins . They are used as supportive therapy for chronic venous insufficiency with pain and heaviness in the legs, swelling, itching and nocturnal leg cramps, as well as for symptoms caused by hemorrhoids .


  • Ingrid and Peter Schönfelder: The new book of medicinal plants , Franckh-Kosmos Verlag (2011), ISBN 978-3-440-12932-6
  • Roth / Daunderer / Kormann: Poisonous plants - plant poisons . 6th edition (2012), ISBN 978-3-86820-009-6


  1. regionally also myrtle thorn, suppositories, myrtle and brusch; see. Karl Friedrich Dobel: Synonymic dictionary of the plants occurring in pharmacy and in trade. Dannheimer, Kempten 1830, p. 339.
  2. a b c d e f g Karl Suessenguth in Gustav Hegi: Illustrated Flora of Central Europe. - Monocotyledones II , Vol. II, 2nd ed., 1936, pp. 332-333
  3. ^ Manfred A. Fischer , Karl Oswald, Wolfgang Adler: Excursion flora for Austria, Liechtenstein and South Tyrol. 3rd, improved edition. State of Upper Austria, Biology Center of the Upper Austrian State Museums, Linz 2008, ISBN 978-3-85474-187-9 .
  4. Helmut Genaust: Etymological dictionary of botanical plant names. 3rd, completely revised and expanded edition. Birkhäuser, Basel / Boston / Berlin 1996, ISBN 3-7643-2390-6 (reprint ISBN 3-937872-16-7 ).
  5. Petrus Uffenbach (Ed.): Pedacii Dioscoridis Anazarbaei Kraeuterbuch ... (translated into German by Johannes Danzius), Frankfurt am Main (with Johann Bringern) 1610, p. 324 ("Wilder Myrtus [...] Ruscus [.. .] Brusche [...]. Its fresh <n>, soft <n> stalks are consumed in the food instead of the asparagus, they are a little bitter and urinate ”).

Web links

Commons : Stinging Butcher's Broom  - Album with pictures, videos and audio files