What is gorse?

(Ulex europaeus)Print PDF image

Gorse shrub in flower

  • Gorse is a serious agricultural and environmental weed.
  • Gorse is a declared weed under the Tasmanian Weed Management Act 1999. The importation, sale and distribution of gorse are prohibited throughout Tasmania.
  • Gorse is also a Weed of National Significance (WONS).

How to identify gorse

  • Gorse is a prickly evergreen shrub which may grow to a height and diameter in excess of 3 metres. All the stems and leaves end in a sharp spine. Gorse flowers are bright yellow pea-like flowers, and are borne all over the plant. The buds develop during February and March, although flowering tends to occur in spring and autumn. Gorse bears large quantities of brown to black seed in grey, hairy pods.
  • Gorse is relatively straightforward to identify. However, you can search the Dennis Morris Weeds and Endemic Flora database for gorse illustrations. If you are still in doubt about the thistle you are dealing with, contact your Regional Weed Management Officer on 1300 368 550 for help.

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Gorse in Tasmania

  • Gorse is widely distributed in Tasmania and is found in most municipalities (see map). The exceptions are a handful of north-eastern and south-eastern municipalities and the Bass Strait Islands which have relatively small, localised populations of gorse.
  • Gorse is a major agricultural weed, and serious infestations of pasture can dramatically reduce stocking rates. Gorse is also a threat to many natural environments such as forests, woodlands, riparian (stream-side) vegetation, wetlands and native grasslands. Other impacts of gorse include providing shelter for pest animals, and an increased risk of bushfires.

What is the legal status of gorse in your area?

  • The legal responsibilities of landholders and other stakeholders in dealing with gorse are laid out in the Statutory Management Plan for Gorse. Use Attachment 1 in the Statutory Weed Management Plan to find out whether your area falls in a Zone A municipality (management objective is eradication of gorse) or a Zone B municipality (management objective is containment of gorse).

Detailed management and control guidelines for gorse can be found in the Gorse Control Guide. Refer also to Herbicides for Gorse Control. For further information contact the Department's Weed Management Section.

See also:

Gorse Control Guide
Herbicides for Gorse Control
Statutory Management Plan for Gorse

Other useful links:


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