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Characteristics of gorse
- Type: flowering shrub
- Height: up to 5m
- Flower color: yellow
- Desired exposure: sunny
- Type of soil: well drained, sandy
- Foliage: persistent
- Sanitizing: no
- Varieties: European gorse, Le Gall, dwarf gorse, Provence gorse, Ulex breoganii
Origins and characteristics of gorse
gorse is a plant of the Fabaceae family, it is also called Ulex or Ulex europaeus. This semi-evergreen shrub has branches full of thorns. It is very widespread in sunny regions with dry soils such as the south of France. The gorse yellow flowers are generally solitary, but very numerous on each branch. They give off a slight coconut odor during flowering in spring, but also sometimes in autumn. Their pretty gold color appeals to more than one gardener.
There are no less than twenty species of gorse from Europe and North Africa. In France, gardeners can cultivate European gorse, Le Gall, dwarf gorse, or even gorse from Provence whose flowering is earlier than that of other species. gorse the most common grows generously from the undergrowth or on the edge of the forest.
Gorse is a very branched tree, but also very thorny. It is therefore perfect for creating a defensive hedge in a garden. Its growth is fast: it reaches its adult size in 5 to 6 years, and can reach 5m high.
Its pollen particularly attracts bees. It is an excellent honey plant. It is also a refuge for small mammals and certain birds. Another ecological benefit of this shrub: it protects hard-to-reach soils from natural erosion.
Be careful if you have young children: gorse contains toxic alkaloids in their seeds, which are hidden in small pods. Thorns can also cause injury.
Gorse is planted in the ground in autumn. If it is a gorse plantation in a pot, it can be done in summer, winter or spring, but never in periods of high heat or during frosts.
It can be planted in poor, stony soil, but most gorse species prefer acidic and well-drained soils.
Plant your gorse in full sun, even in sheltered and very hot places.
Cultivation and maintenance of gorse
The flowers generally appear in April, then the gorse flowers again in full summer. European gorse blooms in December, bringing a touch of color to winter.
Appreciated by gardeners, this plant, which grows in a drained and sandy soil, requires almost no maintenance, a simple pruning is enough when autumn arrives.
The shrub, which can be used as a defensive hedge because of its many sharp thorns, appreciates the sun and the heat (although the shrub resists temperatures going down to -15 ° C), it is thus necessary to choose its location.
The gorse is propagated by sowing in spring, or by cuttings from the beginning of summer.
Gorse fruits and seeds
The small gorse seeds are contained in its pod-shaped fruit. The seeds fall when the flowers wither and are immediately captured by the ants who are responsible for disseminating them. The seeds are eaten by insects, the locust being particularly fond of the seeds of the dwarf gorse.
gorse must not face any parasites, the only threat of this plant is water. It should never stagnate at the level of its roots. If it is planted in a soil that suits it, then there will be no worry of disease or pest attack.