Gorse - Ulex europaeus

Alternative names
Furze or Whin

Densely branched shrub to 2 metres, main spines stout, 12 to 25 mm long and furrowed. Flowers golden yellow, 15 to 20 mm long, sepals almost as long as the petals. Pod 11 to 20 mm densely hairy.

Similar Species

Western Gorse (Ulex gallii).  Western Gorse is present in VC55 on Charnwood Forest and the former coalfield in the NW; it has moderately grooved spines, flowers mainly in summer, and has bracteoles less than twice as wide as petioles.  There is some overlap and they do hybridise.  

Identification difficulty
ID guidance

Spines deeply grooved; flowers mainly in winter/spring; bracteoles more than twice or twice as wide as petioles. 


Recording advice

Photographs of shoot with details of spines/bracteoles.


Grassland heaths, hedgerows, roadsides etc.

When to see it

All year round especially late winter and early spring.

Life History

Evergreen shrub, flowering throughout the year.

UK Status

Widespread and common in Britain.

VC55 Status

Quite common in Leicestershire and Rutland. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in 301 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
Gorse, Furze
Species group:
Trees, Shrubs & Climbers
Records on NatureSpot:
First record:
10/02/2006 (Calow, Graham)
Last record:
20/02/2024 (Carter, Robert)

Total records by month

% of records within its species group

10km squares with records

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