Living in Arizona gives you an appreciation for thorny plants. But those plants are NO MATCH for Gorse found on the coast of Oregon. Thick leather can’t stop the thorns of this monster!!!
General Description: Gorse is a perennial, evergreen shrub able to grow over 10 feet tall. It is shrubby with stout and upright spreading branches with angular stems and a terminal thorn. The plant habit is dense, sometimes 30 feet in diameter, with a center of dead foliage.
Flower Description: Flowers are shiny yellow and pea-like. They are 1/2 to 3/4 inch long and clustered near ends of branches.
Leaf Description: Leaves are trifoliate—having 3 thin leaflets. As they mature they become spiny. Spines are also in the leaf axils.
Stem Description: Stems are stiff and angular with branches maturing from green to brown.
Fruit/Seed Description: The seed pods are hairy, ½ to ¾ inch long, and brown when ripe. The pods burst and scatter seeds for several feet. The seeds are smooth and shiny, olive to brownish.
May be confused with: It may be mistaken for Scotch broom (Cytisus scoparius), a Class B noxious weed or Spanish broom (Spartium junceum), a Class A noxious weed. The obvious spikes distinguish gorse from these other species. Continue reading