European gorse by David North 1/2
European gorse by Elizabeth Dack 2/2

European Gorse Ulex europaeus

Two species of gorse occur in Norfolk, with recent historic records of a third. European gorse is the widespread, common species which grows to become a tall shrub and flowers in late winter and spring. Its flowers have a distinctive coconut scent. European gorse also has a distinctive sound: the popping of seed pods on sunny afternoons in late August and September.

Conservation status

European gorse is very common in Norfolk and is of no conservation concern. It is most often found in well-drained places, such as heaths and old railway embankments but is also common on the landward side of coastal saltmarshes, on old commons on sandy soil, and along roadsides.

Details

Did you know? Traditionally gorse, which is also known as furze and whin, was ground with stones to break down its spines and turn it into palatable winter fodder for livestock.

Gorse is very fire-resistant, ideally suiting it to life on heathland. After burning it is able to regrow from its roots.
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