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categoryZEvergreen Evergreen List 

WESTERN GORSE

Ulex gallii

Pea Family [Fabaceae]

month8jul month8july month8aug month8sep month8sept month8oct

category
category8Evergreen
status
statusZnative
flower
flower8yellow
 
inner
inner8cream
 
morph
morph8zygo
 
petals
petalsZ5
 
type
typeZspiked
 
stem
stem8round
 
stem
stem8fluted
slightly
contact
contactZmed
 

22nd Aug, 2007, North Wales Path, Penmaenmawr area. Photo: © RWD
On top of grassy hills it does not grow as high as its maximum 1.5 to 2m nor on hills much higher than this.


1st Sept 2018, Moore Nature Reserve, Warrington, Cheshire. Photo: © RWD
Western Gorse [left]. Gorse [right]. It is September; the paler-green Gorse [right] has flowered much earlier in the year and all its flowers have gone to fruit but the darker-green Western Gorse [left] is in mid-season with some flowers still out (others turning to fruit).


1st Sept 2018, Moore Nature Reserve, Warrington, Cheshire. Photo: © RWD
Western Gorse. Apart from the overall colour appearance of the green parts, small variations in flower size, slight differences in flower colour [orangy-yellow for Western Gorse and it's eastern counterpart Dwarf Gorse; bright-yellow for Gorse, slight differences in the lengths, the stiffness and the striations or grooves in the spines [length shortest for Dwarf Gorse, medium for Western Gorse, longer for Gorse[ [stiff for Gorse, pliable for Western Gorse and soft-flexible for Dwarf Gorse] [deeply grooved for Gorse, slighter grooves for Western Gorse and faint striations for Dwarf Gorse]], the coconut aroma of Gorse [the others are odourless], the season of flowering [spring for Gorse, summer for Western Gorse & Dwarf Gorse]


1st Sept 2018, Moore Nature Reserve, Warrington, Cheshire. Photo: © RWD
Western Gorse.


8th Sept 2014, Fairwood Common, Gower, South Wales. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone
Western Gorse.


1st Sept 2018, Moore Nature Reserve, Warrington, Cheshire. Photo: © RWD
Western Gorse [left]. Gorse [right]. Note the difference in appearance of the spines; on western gorse greener (paler green and slightly longer on Gorse).


8th Sept 2014, Fairwood Common, Gower, South Wales. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone
Western Gorse. Unlike Dwarf Gorse the main spines are rigid but not as sturdy as those of Gorse. They are also more pronouncedly furrowed than Dwarf Gorse but Gorse has even deeper and more pronounced grooves.


1st Sept 2018, Moore Nature Reserve, Warrington, Cheshire. Photo: © RWD
Western Gorse. The partially-opened calyxes still enclose the flowers here.


1st Sept 2018, Moore Nature Reserve, Warrington, Cheshire. Photo: © RWD
Western Gorse. Flowers in all stages of development here from still within their unopened ovaloid calyxes to fully opened flower with withered calyxes pushed aside and the developing brown fruits.


1st Sept 2018, Moore Nature Reserve, Warrington, Cheshire. Photo: © RWD
Western Gorse. Centre flower -There are two curved filaments each tipped with a cream coloured anther each side of the curved stigma nestling within the keel. LH flower - The more orangy-brown calyx top and bottom of the flower are between 9 and 13mm long - 2/3 to 34 the length of the corolla. There is another but as-yet only partially opened corolla bottom right. The other flowers are still within their unopened orange-yellow corollas.


1st Sept 2018, Moore Nature Reserve, Warrington, Cheshire. Photo: © RWD
Western Gorse. When straightened out the two wings either side of the inner keel are longer than the keel. The style curls upwards out from between the keel and has two stigma atop.


1st Sept 2018, Moore Nature Reserve, Warrington, Cheshire. Photo: © RWD
Western Gorse. The flowers of Western Gorse are rarely fully opened like this (unlike those of Gorse which usually do fully open). Two cream anthers can be seen on their curled yellow filaments.


1st Sept 2018, Moore Nature Reserve, Warrington, Cheshire. Photo: © RWD
Western Gorse. The corolla plus banner from above. Note the faint barely-visible pointed tip of the corolla 34 of the way from the end of the larger concolorous diamond-profile banner which is characteristically pinched upwards near the tip.


13th May 2008, North Wales Path, Llanfairfechan, N. Wales. Photo: © RWD
Western Gorse. The seed pods are flattish, deep-brown, nearly oval-shaped with pointed tip which once bore the stigmas (still attached on the seed pod at right-hand bottom corner).


13th May 2008, North Wales Path, Llanfairfechan, N. Wales. Photo: © RWD
Western Gorse. Hairs on seed pods are appressed on Western Gorse (the pods are more elongated and with spreading hairs on Gorse)


22nd May 2009, Turner Hall farm, Seathwaite, Duddon Valley, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
Western Gorse. A young plant with branches still establishing.


22nd May 2009, Turner Hall farm, Seathwaite, Duddon Valley, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
Western Gorse. The branches of spines still developing.


Not to be semantically confused with : species of Ilex (Hollies) [plants with similar Genus name]

Nor to be semantically confused with : Western Mugwort (Artemisia ludoviciana), Western Brome (Ceratochloa marginata), Western Marsh-orchid (Dactylorhiza kerryensis), Western Stork's-bill (Erodium cygnorum), Western Ramping-fumitory (Fumaria occidentalis), Western Sword-fern (Polystichum munitum), Western Clover (Trifolium occidentale) nor the tree Western Hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla) [plants with similar names belonging to differing families].

Easily mistaken for : Gorse (Ulex europeaus) but that has more-yellow, less orangey flowers, flowers which usually open wide with the banner shining bright, and has flowers which smell of coconut (unlike the others which are odourless?). The plant also flowers about 3 months earlier, in the spring, that the other later flowerers, but overlaps can occur particularly with Gorse whose flowers often last longer and into the same flowering season of Western Gorse.

Easily mis-identified as : Flower ()

Hybridizes with :

  • Dwarf Gorse (Ulex minor) (which is a rare [R]) to produce Ulex gallii × Ulex minor which is much rarer than either parent. This hybrid is only found in Dorset, and differs between the two in the lengths of the calyx (8.5mm) and the standard (11.5mm).
  • Gorse (Ulex europaeus) to produce Ulex × breoganii which is highly fertile occurs only rarely where the two parents overlap. It is intermediate in character especially in the following features: calyx, corolla, bracteole size and the number of ovules per fruit (between 7 and 10). This hybrid flowers in Autumn and Winter.

It is a shrub 1.5 to 2m in stature (somewhat shorter than Gorse (Ulex europaeus). It is the western counterpart to the much shorter Dwarf Gorse. It is native and found mainly in western half of Britain as far north as Solway, and west into Wales, IoM and SW Scotland. Also east to dorset and East Anglia.

NOTES: to get any reliable identification, all measurements should be the arithmetic mean of 10 measurements in order to truly differentiate between the three Gorses. But there are some short-cuts. For instance, Gorse is the only one where the flowers smell of Coconut (or so the books imply).


  Ulex gallii  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Fabaceae  

Distribution
 family8Pea family8Fabaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Ulex
Ulex
(Gorses)

WESTERN GORSE

Ulex gallii

Pea Family [Fabaceae]