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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

13 August, 2015

Gorse: the kissing season | Nature Notes from Dorset

"When gorse is in flower kissing is in season!" There are not many months of the year when it seems gorse (Ulex europaeus) is not in flower but there is no doubt, here in Purbeck at least, that it is at its best in April and May. From the spring equinox (usualy the 21st March) onwards the heaths and downs are aglow with the vibrant yellow flowers of the furze, a local name for gorse. The other wonderful thing you notice as you walk amongst the yellow flowered bushes in the strong, unmistakable scent resembling coconut; lovely!
The common or European gorse does not actually flower all year as it may seem. It tends to take a rest from mid summer but by then, in July through to September, the dwarf gorse takes its place. Superficially they are very similar, you just tend to think that dwarf gorse is a young gorse bush but it is a different species. Then from August through until as late as November in some years western gorse flowers and by Christmas the common gorse can be showing some yellow again.

Read more: Gorse: the kissing season | Nature Notes from Dorset