Wild Flower of the Week – Gorse

 In Wild Flower of the Week

Gorse – Ulex europaeus – provides a splash of colour even on a dull day. This shrub’s habit of flowering on and off throughout the year led to the saying that when gorse is out of flower, kissing is out of fashion. It is a useful plant for wildlife as it supports a range of invertebrates along with the many small birds that nest and feed in it.

The leaves are reduced, and the green spines carry out much of the photosynthesis. Gorse copes well with poor soil and exposed sites. It can bounce back after fire but will die out when other trees and bushes grow up among the thickets and shade it out. The flowers have a strong scent of coconut and are edible if you can avoid the thorns when picking them!

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