Gorse  Ulex spp



Three species of Gorse that exist in the UK are Ulex europaeus, Ulex gallii and Ulex minor:

Ulex europaeus is also known as Western gorse, Furse, and Whin (originally thought to be a Scandinavian word). Other names for this type of Gorse are Fingers-and-thumbs, French-fuzz and Honey-bottle.

Ulex galii, commonly known as Dwarf furze, is also called Bed-furze, Cat-whin and Cornish fuzz. This species belong more to the west and to Ireland and will not tolerate lime in the soil.

Ulex minor belongs more to the south-eastern counties, East Anglia and the home counties. [1]

The stunted plant is dense and has lots of branches. It is evergreen, but the leaves are very minute and fall off early, not being present in the older stages when they take the form of long, thread-like spines, which are straight and furrowed, or branching. The stem is hairy and spreading. The golden-yellow flowers have a distinctive coconut-scented perfume, filling the air.A spiny evergreen shrub with yellow flowers.

Few plants make such an impact on the landscape as flowering gorse, through both its colour and scent. The latter is a distinctive coconut and vanilla smell, said to be quite pungent to some individuals, but weak to others




The flowers from the Common Gorse is what you want to harvest. Their delicate, sweet, coconutty fragrance and flavour translates into lots of delicious drinks and desserts.


Gorse flowers are high in protein and can eaten raw in salads, made into fruit tea, cordial or syrup. It adds extra flavour and colour to beer, wine or spirits, and a whole range of sweet delights like chocolate and ice cream. The buds can be pickled in vinegar and eaten like capers.[2]



Gorse had surprisingly few medicinal uses, though its flowers have been used in the treatment of jaundice, scarlet fever, diarrhoea and kidney stones.

One chemical constituent found in the seeds has a heart effect like digitalis but milder (see  CAUTION below).

The seeds can be soaked and used as a flea repellent.


Bach Flower

This remedy is used for people who are feeling hat they are in a very dark gloom, very deep depression, where they see no hope of improvement or have lost hope of recovery. The remedy helps them to see the hope again and lift the intensity of the despair they feel.



The scary spiky spines that like to inflict as much pain as possible on anyone trying steal their blossoms. Arm yourself with thick gloves and harvest slowly and carefully.


Don’t overeat! The plant contains slightly toxic alkaloids. [2] AVOID WITH HEART ISSUES AND HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE.

Ulexine, found in the seeds,  is one of a group of isoflavonoid alkaloids that are sodium channel blocking antiarrythmic agents. They can relieve cardiac oedema, but they also increase blood pressure. These actions are thought to be the cause of the toxic effects that occur upon accidental ingestion of parts of broom and lupin plants. They are not approved for use in humans as antiarrythmic agents.