Yes, gorse flower is edible. You need to make sure that you only use them in small quantities though, as they contain alkaloids, which are mildly toxic.
You would have to eat quite a few for them to have any effects, but it’s worth being aware of that.
Gorse (Ulex Europaeus) starts to flower around late Autumn, continuing through Winter, with the flowers reaching full bloom around Spring.
These edible flowers have a pleasant, almost coconut aroma and can be picked and used for many purposes, including adding to a salad or brewed into a tea.
One of the more popular ways to use these is to ferment them into wine, which if successful, produces a very nice drop indeed and is well worth the effort.
What can you use gorse flowers for?
You can use gorse flowers for a variety of recipes, but the most simple way to consume them is to simply eat them straight from the bush.
Some other ways to consume them include:
Can you make tea from gorse flowers? How do you make gorse flower tea?
Yes. You can make tea from gorse flowers.
Pick a small handful of fresh gorse flowers, place in a teapot and cover with a cup’s worth of freshly boiled water.
Leave for around 8-10 minutes to brew and then serve. A tea strainer will help with this.
Gorse flower tea benefits
Gorse flower tea has been used for its medicinal benefits for years.
This includes ailments such as:
- Sore throat
- Heartburn and many more
What do gorse flowers smell like?
Gorse flowers have a coconut smell with some citrus notes.
They smell wonderful and are slightly surprising considering the menacing look of the gorse bush itself, which has some pretty hefty spines on it.
When it comes to flowers, the gorse bush wants to be inviting!
Is gorse good for bees?
Yes, gorse is good for bees. The flowers produce nectar and bees love it.
There is also a very small amount of nectar within the flower, which helps attract the bees in the first place and gives them some food in return for their pollination efforts.
Is gorse flower poisonous to humans?
No, gorse is not poisonous to humans (as such!).
You can eat the flowers as mentioned above, or make them into a tea or wine, but don’t overdo it, as the flowers contain small amounts of alkaloids and can be mildly toxic.
Are gorse thorns poisonous?
No, gorse thorns are not poisonous to humans either, but they certainly can cause you a lot of pain!
Although the flowers are a sweet treat to eat, you wouldn’t want to be getting stuck in one of these things, as the thorns are extremely nasty indeed.
When picking flowers (or just being near them in general) watch out, or you may get a good spiking!
Does gorse have pollen?
Yes, gorse does have pollen.
It gets attached to bees when the bee flies into the flower, as well as the flower formed in such a way that it extracts some pollen off the bee that it may have on it from visiting other flowers, therefore allowing for pollination.
Is gorse good for firewood?
Yes, gorse is good for firewood – certainly for getting things started anyway.
Gorse is easy to light burns hot and fast, so be prepared for that.
Keep the fire away from other bushes, as they will easily catch in the right conditions!
Due to its fast burning nature, you may want to add on some slower burning wood in order to have a more sustained fire.
Why is gorse flammable?
Gorse contains a small amount of flammable oils (around 2-4%).
These, along with the dry wood that gorse consists of means it burns easily – and it burns hot!
Is gorse a hardwood?
No. gorse is not a hardwood in the traditional sense of what a hardwood is, like oak etc, however, the branches it produces are very sturdy in construction.
What animal eats gorse?
The case-bearer moth’s larva eats the seedpods of gorse.
Goats, sheep, cattle and horses are also known to eat it.
If you do decide to get your own animals for this purpose, do check out some breeds that prefer it more than others.
Is gorse native to the UK?
Yes, gorse is native to the UK.
There are 3 types of gorse species in the UK.
- Common Gorse (Ulex Europaeus) – This, as the name suggests is the most common species in the UK and what you will typically find when you come across a gorse bush. This is also the only type that will grow to around 2.5-3 metres tall, so if it’s up at this height it will most certainly be Common Gorse.
- Western Gorse (Ulex Gallii) – Low growing and found in the West side of Britain, along the Atlantic Coast.
- Dwarf Gorse (Ulex Minor) – Another low growing gorse variety, that generally grows to around 30cm in height and is generally found South of the River Thames in Kent and on the South Coast in Sussex and Dorset.
So, Is Gorse Flower Edible? Yes indeed!
Although extremely thorny, its coconut-scented flowers can be used for a variety of things including tea, wine and simply just snacking on them.
Keep the amount you consume to a sensible quantity though, as they do contain alkaloids, which are mildly toxic.
Looking for more foraging? Take a look at our Common Limpet post here.