Ulex europaeus


The common furze, gorse or whin, so familiar in the Irish landscape, is not in fact native, having been introduced from continental Europe. Ulex europaeus is a medium-sized, evergreen shrub with an upright, bushy habit, covered with greyish-green spines which are actually modified leaves, protecting against water loss from drying winds. The brilliant yellow, pea-like flowers, scented of coconut, appear for nine months of the year, most abundantly from March to May. These are followed by slender black seed pods from which the seeds explode. A really tough, wind-proof plant for the edge of a rural garden, good as a hedge and as a refuge for wild-life, it is best on poor, sandy soils, as it grows too lush and straggly on richer ones. Once used for innumerable purposes in the countryside, and regularly burnt to provide fresh shoots for sheep to graze, furze now risks becoming invasive.

Site: Tolerates exposure
Soil: Best in sandy, acid to neutral soils
Position: Full sun
Season of interest: All year
Hardiness: Exceptionally hardy
Height: to 6’6” (2m) Spread: to 6’6” (2m)

Type | Size: Pot | 9cm
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