The Golden Gorse (Ulex Europaeus, Linn.) is conspicuous in waste places and on commons throughout Great Britain, from its spiny branches and bright yellow flowers, situated on the spines, either solitary or in pairs. It is thought to be the Scorpius of Theophrastus and the Ulex of Pliny. By botanists before Linnaeus, it was known as a Broom and called Genista spinosa. Linnaeus restored to it the name of Ulex, by which it has ever since been recognized.
The plant is a dense, muchbranched, stunted shrub, rarely attaining a height of more than 6 feet. It is evergreen, but the leaves are very minute and fall off early, not being present in the older stages, when they take the form of long, thread-like spines, which are straight and furrowed, or branching. The stem is hairy and spreading.
The golden-yellow, papilionaceous flowers have a powerful scent, perfuming the air. They open from early spring right up to August, or even later, but the bushes are to be found in blossom, here and there practically all the year round.