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gorse (Ulex europaeus)
ODA rating: B and T
 
USDA Symbol: ULEU
Oregon gorse distribution
 
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Photo by Ken French, ODA
 
 
Photo by Ken French, ODA
 
 
If images are downloaded and used from the ODA web site please be sure to credit the photographer.
 
Description
Perennial; blooms March to May. Grows one to nine feet tall. A stiff, spiny, much-branched shrub, often forming dense thickets. Branches dark green, spine-tipped, with clusters of yellow pea-like flowers near the ends.
 
Impacts
Gorse is a persistant, spiney, pioneer species adapted to a wide range of environmental conditions. Plant growth and stand density increase at a rapid rate, crowding out native plants, impacting forest production, inhabiting parklands and pastures, and rendering infested land unusable. Control costs are high and reinfestation is a constant problem. Gorse stands develop a long-lived persistent seed bank requiring long-term management of established sites. High levels of natural oils in the spines make this plant highly flamable and an extreme fire hazard.
 
Distribution in Oregon
First noted in Oregon in 1916 in Benton County.

Biological controls
Two biological control agents, Exapion ulicis, a seed weevil and Tetranychus lintearius, a spider mite, have been approved for release and are established in Oregon, however, they have not been effective at controlling populations in the state and are not recommended.