Scientific name: Ulex europaeus

Common names: Gorse

Description: Gorse is an evergreen pea-family shrub introduced from Europe as an ornamental. The branches of gorse are covered in spines, the thickets can grow over 10 feet tall, and it can tolerate a wide range of habitat conditions. It has yellow, pea-like flowers that grow on the previous year’s growth. A stand of gorse will grow outward, leaving a large amount of dry and dead material in the center.

Impact: The vigorous growth habit of gorse gives it a competitive advantage over many native species. Where it is established it can form dense, spiny thickets that are extremely difficult to remove manually. The seeds of gorse remain viable for up to 30 years, necessitating long-term site management for complete eradication. Furthermore, the plant’s natural oil content and the dry and dead material that results from multiple years of gorse growth can increase the fire hazard of an area. Clatsop SWCD is actively treating gorse populations in the county, therefore if you come across gorse, please contact our office at 503-325-4571.

Source: KingCounty.gov

For more information, please visit the Noxious Weed resources at KingCounty.gov: http://www.kingcounty.gov/services/environment/animals-and-plants/noxious-weeds/weed-identification/gorse.aspx