Pest plant - Gorse
) is a spiny shrub introduced as a hedge plant. It is sometimes called furze.
erect, many-branched shrub, 4m x 3m
young growth is green and older shoots become brown
stems are woody when mature and covered with spines to 5cm
leaves are dark green, hairy and spine-like, 1-3cm, evenly spaced along the stems in clusters
flowers are bright yellow, pea-shaped and 2cm long in clusters near the end of branches
fruit is a dark pod, 1-2cm long, covered in dense hair containing 2-6 seeds
seeds are green-brown, smooth and shiny, 3mm long and triangular
root system is dense consisting mostly of shallow fibrous feeding roots.
Why is it a problem?
competes strongly with young trees and thickets in native vegetation and forestry
grows in pasture paddocks, resulting in lower carrying capacity
harbour for vermin
soils under gorse become more acid and lose nutrients over time.
Southern Eyre Peninsula – scattered infestations
Northern agricultural districts and Yorke Peninsula – common on roadsides and watercourses in the south
Murray Mallee – isolated outbreaks in the higher rainfall area to the west
South East – rare in the north, scattered in the south
Central region – widespread in the higher rainfall areas.
gorse is not restricted to any particular soil type, but thrives in poor, alkaline soils
requires at least 500mm annual rainfall
flowers during autumn and spring – two seed crops a year
seeds mostly germinate in autumn or spring, mass germinations can occur after fire
seed can remain viable for 75 years or longer, building up a huge seed bank in the soil.
How it spreads
seeds are spread by birds, earthworks and vehicles.
Pest plants (web page)