Scientific name(s)
Plant description
Pasture type and use
Where it grows
Animal production
Further information
Author and date
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Scientific name(s)

Chamaecytisus palmensis, Chamaecytisus proliferous, Cystisus proliferous



Plant description

Plant: A tall (up to 5 m) perennial legume shrub with very deep root system (at least 10 m)

Stems: Can grow into a tree form if unmanaged, but is managed for a low shrub with multiple stem branching from just above the soil surface.

Leaves:  Multiple narrow leaflets (5 to 30 mm) long, emerging from a common petiole.

Flowers: Small white pea flowers

Pods: Narrow pods with about 10 seeds per pod.

Seeds: Hard seeded

Pasture type and use

An evergreen legume fodder shrub used for year round grazing with cattle or autumn feed for sheep and cattle.

Where it grows


> 250 mm


Deep (> 1 m), well drained sands


Young leaves are burnt by frost, but plants are adapted to a wide range of temperatures.  Growth rates slow in winter due to cool temperatures


Companion species

Annual pastures in inter-row

Sowing/planting rates as single species

Sown as plantations at 8 to 10 m spacing between rows.  When planted as seedlings space plants 2 to 3 m apart within rows.

Sowing/planting rates in mixtures

'Alley farming' is where the inter row spacing is more than 15 m.

Sowing time

Sown in winter May to August.


Tagasaste special inoculum thought tagasaste is considered 'promiscuous' for rhizobium.


25 kg/km of row of a Super:Potash mix (higher rates can kill seedlings)


Maintenance fertliser

200 kg/ha/year superphosphate (9% P) for optimum animal production


Seedlings are lightly grazed or cut in the first autumn to promote branching (remove no more than 1/3 of the leaf)
With sheep tagasaste is grazed at high stocking rates (e.g. 100 DSE/ha) for a maximum of 6 weeks in autumn to replace supplementary feeding.  If only grazed once a year the tagasaste will require mechanical cutting (0.5 to 1.0 m height) in autumn.  Tagasaste can not be set stocked with sheep.
Tagasaste can be set stocked or rotationally grazed with cattle at any time of the year.  If the grazing pressure is adequate the tagasaste will not need mechanical cutting.

Seed production

Small number of professional seed producers (hand picking or vacuum harvesting)

Ability to spread

Limited, but occasionally seedlings will strike in the absence of grazing.

Weed potential

Low, though can establish in bushland

Major pests

Most insect pest in the seedling stage (first 9 months), occasional grass hopper damage in mature plants.
Rabbits will kill seedlings.

Major diseases


Herbicide susceptibility

Limited knowledge or requirement in paddocks

Animal production

Feeding value

Very high feed quality in winter and spring, but maintenance only in autumn.  Crude Protein levels are at least 14% in autumn but animals respond to protein supplements at this time.  In autumn high phenolic levels can inhibit rumen function and cause protein shortages.


Good during winter and spring, but declines over summer and autumn.  Leaves on stems that have flowered in spring will become unpalatable in the following summer (and the bark of those stems becomes palatable).  Mechanical cutting / hard grazing in the first half of the year prevents flowering in the second half of the year.

Production potential

Has increased carrying capacity from 2 DSE/ha to 8 DSE/ha on infertile sands in WA.

Livestock disorders/toxicity

'Tagasaste staggers' can occur in winter and spring but animals recover quickly (< 30 minutes) and there is no permanent damage.  Rare nervous problems with new born calves - a condition which is not yet understood.
Pregnancy toxaemia in lactating ewes and calves in autumn due to tagasaste only supplying maintenance quality feed prior to the break of season.


Common tagasaste, Weeping tagasaste (seedlings only)

Further information

Wiley et al (1994). 'Tagasaste' Dept Agriculture WA, Bulletin 5291

Lefroy, Oldham & Costa (1996). Tagasaste Chamaecytisus proliferous' workshop proceedings, CRC for Legumes in Mediterranean Agriculture, Occasional Publication No 19.

Oldham et al (1988-94). 'Advances in research on Tagasaste (1 to 4) Martindale Research Project, Animal Science Group, School of Agriculture, University of Western Australia.



Author and date

Tim Wiley

May 2009