|Ulex europaeus subsp. var.||Common Gorse, Furze, Gorse, Whin|
Ulex europaeus, gorse, furze or common gorse, is an evergreen shrub in the family Fabaceae, native to western Europe from a northerly point of the United Kingdom south to Portugal, and westerly point of the Republic of Ireland east to Galicia in Poland and Ukraine.
It grows to 2 - 3 m tall. The young stems are green, with the shoots and leaves modified into green spines, 1 - 3 cm 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 cm long, with the typical pea-flower structure; they are produced throughout the year, but mainly in the early spring. The fruit is a legume (pod) 2 cm in long, dark purplish-brown, partly enclosed by the pale brown remnants of the flower; the pod contains 2-3 small blackish seeds, which are released when the pod splits open in hot weather.
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.
The species has been introduced to other areas of Europe, and also to the Americas, New Zealand and Australia, where it is often considered a weed and is a serious problem invasive species in some areas.
|Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture|
Ulex europaeus, Linn. Furze. Gorse. Whin. Much-branched very spiny rigid shrub, 2-4 ft. high: branchlets striped, villous when young: lvs. scale-like or narrow-lanceolate, pubescent: fls. axillary, 1-3, crowded at the end of the branches and forming racemes; corolla bright yellow, about 3/4 in. long, fragrant; calyx yellow, hairy: pod oblong, over 1/2 in. long, villous, dark brown. April, June and often again in Sept., Oct.; in Calif. almost the whole year. W. and S. Eu; naturalized in waste places in the Middle Atlantic states and also on Vancouver Isl.—There is a variety with double fls., var. plenus, Schneid. (var. flore-pleno, Loud.). Another variety is var. strictus, Webb, of upright, pyramidal habit and less spiny, but as it does not bloom freely, it is of little value. CH
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- Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture, by L. H. Bailey, MacMillan Co., 1963
- w:Ulex europaeus. Some of the material on this page may be from Wikipedia, under the Creative Commons license.
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