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Gorse

(Ulex sp.)

Gorse © Deborah Long/Plantlife

Gorse © Deborah Long/Plantlife


A spiny evergreen shrubs with yellow flowers.

Few plants make such an impact on the landscape as flowering gorse, both as colour and scent. The latter is a distinctive coconut smell, said to be quite pungent to some individuals, but weak to others. It was voted the County Flower of Belfast.

Gorse is one of the flowers we keep track of in our Wildflowers Count survey - click here to find out how you can help out.

Habitat

Banks, heaths and sea-cliffs.

Best time to see

Folklore says you should only kiss your beloved when gorse is in flower. The good news is that either common gorse or the closely related western gorse is pretty much in bloom whatever the time of year! In fact, a few yellow flowers can generally be seen even in harsh winter months.

Its peak time, however, is April and May when almost all the plant is covered in bright yellow blossom.

Did you know?

Before the Industrial Revolution, gorse was valued as a fuel for fires and kilns.