Common Gorse
Common Gorse

Also known as Furze or by its scientific name, Ulex Europaeus, this plant commonly grows throughout the British Isles and also grows elsewhere in much of Europe and parts of Africa. Some people plant it as a security measure because of its thorns.


Common Gorse grows into a shrub of one to two meters high, occasionally reaching a height of three meters. It also spreads outward as it grows and can be trained to grow into a hedge. It produces small, scented, hermaphroditic yellow flowers and purplish-brown fruit. It is noted for attracting insects, birds, and other wildlife.

Home Security Benefits

This plant offers a security benefit with thorns that grow on its branches. Would-be intruders find passing through a hedge of Common Gorse difficult and uncomfortable.


Common Gorse adapts well to many soil types from sand to heavy clay. It prefers acidic or neutral soils that are nutritionally poor and well drained. It grows fast, as much as one and a half meters (about five feet) per year. It is also a hardy plant, tolerating cold, drought, and maritime climates, but requires full sun. It also does not react well to any disturbance of its root system. This plant also replaces nitrogen in soil by symbiotically providing a breeding ground for helpful bacteria. Its root system also helps to stabilize soil.


Common Gorse is considered an invasive, exotic "pest" species in many jurisdictions. Before planting, you should research local zoning and landscaping codes to ensure that you do not violate local ordinances.


The flowers of Common Gorse are edible and may be pickled like capers. Some people also use them to flavor tea. The flowers are also a source of yellow or orange dye. The plant also may have medicinal purposes. Some people profess using the seeds as an astringent in the treatment of digestive ailments. The plant also offers other commercial uses. Its wood is considered appropriate for kindling and after burning the ashes make an excellent fertilizer and soap.