Common Gorse
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Common Gorse
ntroduced Photo: Aarti Khale
Common name: Common Gorse, Gorse, Furze
Botanical name: Ulex europaeus    Family: Fabaceae (Pea family)

Common Gorse, is an evergreen shrub, native to western Europe. It grows to 7–10 ft tall. The young stems are green, with the shoots and leaves modified into green spines, 1–3 cm long. Young seedlings produce normal leaves for the first few months; these are trifoliate, resembling a small clover leaf. The flowers are yellow, 1–2 cm long, with the typical pea-flower structure. They are produced throughout the year, but mainly in the early spring. The fruit is a pod 2 cm long, dark purplish-brown, partly enclosed by the pale brown remnants of the flower. The pod contains 2-3 small blackish seeds, which are released when the pod splits open in hot weather. Like many species of gorse, it is often a fire-climax plant, which readily catches fire but re-grows from the roots after the fire; the seeds are also adapted to germinate after slight scorching by fire. In India it is cultivated as a garden plant in colder parts.

Identification credit: Max Overton
Photographed in Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu.
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