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). 

    Identification difficulty
    ID guidance

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

    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.  

    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.

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    Leicestershire & Rutland Map

    MAP KEY:

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

    UK Map