• AGM plants

    AGM plants have been through a rigourous trial and assessment programme. They are:

    • Excellent for ordinary use in appropriate conditions
    • Available to buy
    • Of good constitution
    • Essentially stable in form & colour
    • Reasonably resistant to pests & diseases

Ruscus aculeatus

Butcher's broom

Butcher's broom

© � RHS 2000

  • Other common names Butcher's broom
    Box holly

    Jew's myrtle
    Knee holly
    Knee holm
    Knee hull
    Prickly box
    Shepherd's myrtle
    Wild myrtle

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  • Genus Ruscus are rhizomatous evergreen subshrubs with flattened, leaf-like cladophylls bearing small pale green flowers, followed on female or hermaphrodite plants by glossy red berries

  • Family Asparagaceae / Asparagaceae

  • Species R. aculeatus is a bushy sub-shrub to 75cm, with glossy lance-shaped cladophylls 2.5cm in length, flowering in spring, with glossy red berries on female plants in summer and autumn

  • Plant range Europe to Mediterr.


  • Foliage Evergreen

  • Habit Bushy

  • Toxicity Acute ingestion may cause mild stomach upset



  • Full Sun

  • Full Shade

  • Partial Shade

  • Aspect South-facing or North-facing or West-facing or East-facing

  • Exposure Exposed or Sheltered


  • Chalk


  • Chalk


  • Chalk


  • Chalk


  • MoistureWell-drained, Moist but well-drained

  • SoilChalk, Clay, Sand, Loam

  • pHAcid, Alkaline, Neutral


  • Ultimate height

    0.5-1 metres

  • Ultimate spread

    0.5-1 metres

  • Time to ultimate height

    10-20 years

How to grow

Cultivation Dried stems may be used in floral arrangements. Individual shoots are short-lived. Grow in any but waterlogged soils

Propagation Propagate by seed or division

Suggested planting locations and garden types Drought Resistant Low Maintenance Cut Flowers Wildflower meadow Wildlife Gardens

How to care

Pruning Cut out dead stems to the base in spring

Pests Generally pest free

Diseases Generally disease free

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