Identify Gorse

GORSE

SPRING

SUMMER

AUTUMN

WINTER

EDIBLE

DEADLY

COMMON NAMES

Gorse, Prickly broom, furze

 

BOTANICAL NAME

Ulex Europaeus

 

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Root – Unknown.                 

Stems/Bark – Green stems with the shoots and leaves modified into spikes.

Leaves – It’s leaves are long, sharp and spiky.             

Flowers – Gorse flowers are yellow and measure around 2cm in length. They have a mild coconut scent.                     Seeds/Fruit – As a member of the pea family the fruits appear as legumes or pods which are around 2cm long. The pods are dark purplish/brown and contain 2-3 small blackish, hard seeds.

 

SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION

Kingdom – Plantae

Order – Fabales

Family – Fabaceae

Genus – Ulex

 

KNOWN HAZARDS

Only the flowers are considered edible and then only in small quantities. The seeds and pods are toxic.

COULD BE CONFUSED WITH 

It’s quite a distinctive plant, with no real look-alikes.

 

RANGE AND DISTRIBUTION

Very common, native to the UK and Europe.

 

HABITAT

Gorse has nitrogen fixing roots and does well in poor soils. Found on moors, shingle beaches, forest edges and waste ground.

 

EDIBLE USES

The flowers are said to taste of coconut or almonds but I only get a bitter pea taste. They make a nice garnish for salads or desserts.

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