Common Gorse (Ulex europaeus)

Common Gorse (Ulex europaeus) is a species of flowering plant native to portions of Europe. From the United Kingdom and Ireland it is found as far south as Portugal and as far east as Poland and Ukraine.

  • Common Gorse  -  Ulex Europaeus  -  Flowers Are Bright Yellow And Often Smell Like Coconut

Useful info about Common Gorse trees

Latin NameUlex europaeus
HeightCan grow up to 2 - 3 metres (7 - 10 feet)
SpreadThe branches can spread out to 2 - 3 metres (7 - 10 feet)
Soil Types PreferredChalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Locations SuitableFarmland, Gardens, Hedgerows
FlowersYellow flowers from spring to autumn
FruitPurple-brown seed pods appear in summer


Common Gorse is an evergreen shrub growing to 2–3 m tall, with spiny, green branches and bright, yellow flowers from spring to autumn.

Growing to 2–3 metres (7–10 ft) tall, it is an evergreen shrub. The young stems are green, with the shoots and leaves modified into green spines, 1–3 centimetres long. Young seedlings produce normal leaves for the first few months; these are trifoliate, resembling a small clover leaf.

The flowers are yellow, 1–2 centimetres long, with the pea-flower structure typical of the Fabaceae; they are produced throughout the year, but mainly in early spring. The fruit is a legume (pod) 2 centimetres long, dark purplish-brown, partly enclosed by the pale brown remnants of the flower; the pod contains 2-3 small blackish, shiny, hard seeds, which are ejected when the pod splits open in hot weather. Seeds remain viable for 30 years.

Like many species of gorse, it is often a fire-climax plant, which readily catches fire but re-grows from the roots after the fire; the seeds are also adapted to germinate after slight scorching by fire. An extremely tough and hardy plant, it can live for about thirty years.

Some species of Gorse give off a scent of coconut when in flower - particularly in the summer.


Common Gorse is often planted in areas to help stabilise the soil, such as embankments. It is a nitrogen-fixing plant that feeds the soil with nitrogen, which helps improve the soil and allow other tree species to establish.

Yellow dyes are extracted from the flowers.

The flowers were once used to treat jaundice as well as scarlet fever in children.


Any uses for trees or tree extracts, whether edible or medicinal, have not been tried or tested by EFORESTS.

Please take caution and seek proper advice before attempting any recipes or medicinal extracts from any of the trees listed on our site.

Culture and Symbolism

Common Gorse is often associated with love and fertility.

It is said that "When the gorse is not in bloom, kissing is out of season.".

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