Photo Credit: www.ctahr.hawaii.edu

Photo Credit: www.ctahr.hawaii.edu

Gorse (Ulex europaeus)


Hawaii Pacific Weed Risk Assessment: 20 High Risk

Regulatory Status: Hawaii Noxious Weed List (HA 68) 

Prevention and Control Category: None


  • Thorny shrub, up to 2 meters (6 ft) tall, with inch-long spines

    Photo Credit: www.eattheweeds.com

    Photo Credit: www.eattheweeds.com

  • Bright yellow flowers that smell faintly of coconut

  • Native to Western Europe, introduced as food plant for sheep and as a “living fence”


  • Forms dense, impenetrable thickets that allow nothing else to grow

  • Seeds can remain viable in the soil for more than 30 years

  • Deep roots help this plant survive fires, and fire helps the seeds sprout


  • Kauai: Present. Not currently a KISC target for control.

  • Oahu: Present. Not currently an OISC target for control.

  • Maui: Infestations in higher altitude pastures and natural areas, including Haleakala. Landowners are asked to control gorse wherever possible.

  • Molokai: Small population present at Kamiloloa. MoMISC is working to eradicate this from Molokai.

  • Lanai: Presence/absence unknown.

  • Big Island: Infests higher altitude pastures and natural areas, including Hakalau and Puu Oo. BIISC does not target this plant, but will control in some locations. Landowners are asked to control gorse on their property wherever possible.

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