Common gorse Facts

Common gorse Facts
Common gorse is evergreen shrub that belongs to the pea family. It originates from northern parts of Europe and north-western parts of Africa, but it can be found in temperate areas around the world today. Common gorse grows in the wastelands, scrublands, on the edges of the forests, along the coastlines, near the roads and on the sunny hillsides. It is classified as invasive outside its native range due to ability to quickly occupy new habitats and form dense, impenetrable thicket which prevents growth of native plant species. People cultivate common gorse mostly in ornamental purposes.
Interesting Common gorse Facts:
Common gorse is spiny shrub that can reach 7 to 10 feet in height.
Common gorse has elongated, linear leaves with sharply pointed tips. Leaves are dark green or grey-green colored and alternately arranged on the branches.
Common gorse produces large number of golden yellow flowers arranged on the long flowering stalks. Flowers contain both types of reproductive organs (perfect flowers).
Common gorse can bloom all year round (flowering reaches the peak during the spring and autumn). Flowers emit pleasant coconut-like scent which attracts various insects responsible for the pollination.
Fruit of common gorse is egg-shaped, hairy seed pod filled with 2 to 3 seed. Ripe pod explosively splits and ejects seed up to 15 feet away.
Common gorse propagates via seed which retains ability to germinate up to 30 years.
Name "gorse" originates from Old English word "gorst", which was used to describe uncultivated areas, where this plant usually grows.
Common gorse has edible flowers. They can be consumed in the form of tea or preserved in vinegar (like capers). Flowers can be also used as flavoring agents (especially for various types of fruit wines).
Crushed, finely chopped or ground branches of common gorse represent important source of food for cattle and feral ponies in some parts of Europe.
Gorse pod moths and weevils like to eat pods of common gorse. These insects are used as biological weapons against common gorse in areas where this plant grows in abundance.
Dense, thorny branches of common gorse provide shelter for small mammals such as rabbits. Birds, such as warblers, stonechat and whinchat, nest among the branches of common gorse.
Flowers of common gorse can be used as a source of yellow dye.
Common gorse tolerates fire because it stimulates germination of seed and re-sprouting of the plant from the root. Dry branches and pods of common gorse are highly flammable and they are often used as a firewood in bread ovens.
Wood of common gorse is used for the manufacture of small items, usually for the garden, because they do not rot after exposure to high humidity.
Common gorse is perennial plant that can survive around 30 years in the wild.

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