Gorse - Yellow Wildflowers
Common gorse - Ulex europaeus - a really pretty yellow flower seen throughout The Western Isles. Sometimes it is confused with broom - however gorse is the plant that really does have a lot of spines.
Gorse is seen all over the Western Isles and indeed throughout Scotland
Gorse seeds are produced in dark-coloured, elongated pods that when ripe, burst noisily open on hot summer days and scatter far and wide the seeds.
March - May Dazzling Display
From March to May and sometimes even in late summer the shrub gives a dazzling feast of colour is given by the fragrant pea-like vibrant yellow flowers
This yellow shrub thrives in poor, dry acid soils, which is probably why it is so successful in The Hebrides.
Gorse a bushy, dense evergreen spiny shrub, much-branched, up to 2.5m. high. It is found on acid, sandy heaths. It lives up to thirty years - a common wildflower in the Western Isles.
Ulex Europaeus is the only species native to much of western Europe, it is is also the largest species and can reach 2–3 metres (7–10 ft) in height.
Yellow Pea Like Flowers
The yellow, pea-like flowers are 12-18 mm long, on short 3-5 mm stalks.
Gorse spines are up to 2.5cm long, and have furrows.
Gorse - Good for Western Isles Wildlife
Gorse and The Birds, Insects & Bees
Gorse is ideal for a range of nesting heath land, down land and farmland birds, including the lovely stonechats that are frequently seen here in The Western Isles.
The dense structure gives important refuge for the birds in harsh weather. Gorse is important for invertebrates; it is in flower for long periods, so is an important nectar source in early spring and early winter, when little else is in flower. Bees are important pollinators of Gorse
Nickname - Furze
Gorse is sometimes called "Furze". The word Furze comes from the Anglo-Saxon name fyrs, while the word gorse is also from an Anglo Saxon name "gorst" -meaning a waste, a reference to the open moorlands on which it is found.
Insects and Birds
As gorse spends much of the year flowering, many insects and birds are attracted to it, including bees.
Ants Help With the Seed Movement of Gorse
Ants play a significant role in the movement of gorse seeds.
Gorse - Stornoway - Tolsta
The yellow gorse that lines the roadside - both just before entering Stornoway - (from the Tarbert to Stornoway main road) - around the Stornoway War Memorial Monument - and in places along the Tolsta Road are spectacularly splendid sights.
Gorse flowers have been used in the treatment of jaundice and as a treatment for scarlet fever in children
Edible Uses -- Pickles - Tea
The flower buds can be pickled in vinegar and then used like capers in salads A tea is made from the shoot tips
Gorse seeds have been soaked, then used as flea- repellant
Well Know Saying
A well-know country saying about gorss is:
"When gorse is out of blossom, kissing's out of fashion". This saying of course really means that as gorse often flowers for many month of the year in various places throughout Britain & Scotland, then, kissing is always in "fashion"
Gorse is quite pungent and the predominant smell is that of coconut
|Inches and cm sizes are approximate|