(Heb. rothem), called by the Arabs retem, and known as Spanish
broom; ranked under the genus genista. It is a desert shrub, and
abounds in many parts of Israel. In the account of his
journey from Akabah to Jerusalem, Dr. Robinson says: "This is
the largest and most conspicuous shrub of these deserts, growing
thickly in the water-courses and valleys. Our Arabs always
selected the place of encampment, if possible, in a spot where
it grew, in order to be sheltered by it at night from the wind;
and during the day, when they often went on in advance of the
camels, we found them not unfrequently sitting or sleeping under
a bush of retem to shelter them from the sun. It was in this
very desert, a day's journey from Beersheba, that the prophet
Elijah lay down and slept beneath the same shrub" (1 Kings 19:4,
5). It afforded material for fuel, and also in cases of
extremity for human food (Ps. 120:4; Job 30:4). One of the
encampments in the wilderness of Paran is called Rithmah, i.e.,
"place of broom" (Num. 33:18).

"The Bedawin of Sinai still burn this very plant into a
charcoal which throws out the most intense heat."