Gorse is very tolerant of maritime exposure, it can be used as a windbreak hedge in the most exposed positions, making an impenetrable barrier with its vicious thorns. Planted for soil stabilization on sandy substrates, it is very good for stabilizing roadside banks on poor soils. Gorse is an excellent pioneer species for poor soils and areas with maritime exposure. It is fast-growing, feeds the soil with nitrogen and provides good conditions for woodland trees to become established. These trees will eventually out-compete the gorse, which is unable to reproduce well in the shady conditions and will thus gradually die out[K]. The plant has an old reputation as a pesticide, the soaked seed being used against fleas.The wood burns very well, it was much used in the past for kindling, heating bakers ovens etc. The ashes from the burnt wood are rich in potassium and can be used in making soap. This soap can be made by mixing the ashes with a vegetable oil, or mixing them with clay and forming them into balls. The ashes are also an excellent fertilizer.
The seed is said to be astringent and has been used in the treatment of diarrhoea and stones.The plant is used in Bach flower remedies - the keywords for prescribing it are 'Hopelessness' and 'Despair'.
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Although native to Britain and said to be hardy to about -20°c, gorse often suffers badly in severe winters, but the plants usually recover. They often accumulate dry dead spines at their centre, this can be a fire risk in dry summers. The plants often resprout from the base after a fire and, even if killed, numerous seedlings will soon spring up to replace the dead plants. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus. The flowers are strongly scented of coconut[K]. Another report says that the flowers have a smell of vanilla with undertones of orange or pineapple. It is one of the most refreshing of all flower scents. A food plant for the caterpillars of several lepidoptera species. Plants often form dense thickets and these are ideal nesting areas for many species of birds. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus.This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby.
Problems, pests & diseases
Associations & Interactions
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Polycultures & Guilds
There are no polycultures listed which include Ulex europaeus.
This table shows all the data stored for this plant.
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