Common Gorse is a
perennial plant of the UK, typically found growing in heathland, coastal areas and waste ground, to a mature height of up to 250cm.
Common Gorse is a spiny-stemmed evergreen shrub, producing yellow, winged, pea-like flowers with a coconut-scent, from late-autumn to late-spring. Its spines are actually modified leaves.
Botanic classification and naming: Common Gorse is a member of the Pea (Fabaceae) family. The genus name
'Ulex' identifies the plant as a Gorse and its species name 'europaeus' means 'European plant'.
Concerns: Common Gorse is a poisonous plant with the toxins concentrated in the peas and pods. Common Gorse catches fire and spreads fire quickly (but it soon regenerates and its seed can germinate after scorching).
Benefits: Common Gorse provides nectar-rich flowers that attract bees and butterflies and its spiny foliage provides shelter and protection for birds. It also has root nodules that host nitrogen-fixing bacteria. These make atmospheric nitrogen available to feed the plant and enrich the soil.
Benefits to wildlife are also indicated with orange icons in the plant profile bar at the top.