Gorse

The coconut scented flowers of Gorse are ideal for making a wonderful summer cordial and tasty wine, as well as sprinkling in salads and colouring pace eggs.

Picture of Gorse

The tiny yellow flowers are surrounded by vicious spines

Gorse ( Ulex europaeus ) can be found growing along motorway embankments, colonising scrub and hillside and is a common shrub in many UK hedgerows.

Gorse is also known by other names such as Furse or Whin and is a member of the pea family.

Spring and summer are the best times to gather gorse flowers, as the delicate coconut fragrance is at its strongest.

Gorse can be quite invasive and is unsuitable for cultivation in domestic gardens.

Picking gorse flowers.

This plant has an attitude and fairly substantial gloves (the sort used for rose pruning) are necessary if you are to avoid being punctured repeatedly.

The flowers are small and you will need large carrier bags if you want to pick enough to make wine.  You will need 10 pints of gorse flowers for every 15 litres of water.

Pick flowers from the higher parts of the shrub, as they are less likely to have been peed on by dogs and other animals.

Bees love gorse flowers too, so gently knock the branch a few times before grabbing hold of the flowers.

Gorse provides a home to some of our wild birds, so do take care not to disturb nest sites.

More information

RSPB Conservation – About Gorse

Gorse Cordial recipe – Eat Weeds, wild food guide to edible plants of Britain

Hugh’s Gorse flower wine – River Cottage. Watch Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall making this rather tasty wine. You can even print off the recipe to keep in your favourites file.

Making Pace eggs – An Easter tradition using Gorse flowers among other things, to create pattern on the eggshell.