Western Gorse - Ulex gallii


Whilst it is very similar to Common Gorse (Ulex europaeus), Ulex gallii tends to be smaller and low-growing, with narrower and weaker thorns and stems, forming compact, lighter green mounds. It also flowers later (July to September) whilst Common Gorse (Ulex europaeus) flowers mainly in spring.

The bracteoles are less than twice as wide as the pedicels, and the thorns are moderately grooved. 

Similar Species

Ulex europaeus

Identification difficulty
Recording advice

Photos of flowers and stems


A shrub of heaths on infertile acidic soils, including leached soils overlying chalk and limestone; also found on sea-cliffs, in under-grazed or abandoned pastures, and on scrubby banks and waste ground.

When to see it

In flower during July, August and September.

Life History


UK Status

Very much a plant of Wales, south west England and north west England it is scarce in many other areas of Britain.

VC55 Status

Becoming scarce in Leicestershire and Rutland where it is almost confined to the Charnwood area. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in 21 of the 617 tetrads.

Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map

Species profile

Common names
Western Gorse
Species group:
Trees, Shrubs & Climbers
Records on NatureSpot:
First record:
21/10/2012 (Helen Ikin;Steve Woodward)
Last record:
02/09/2019 (Bell, Melinda)

Total records by month

% of records within its species group

10km squares with records

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