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Gorse: Furze, Whin, Prickly Broom.                                     Ulex Europaeus      N.O.Leguminosae.

A food plant for the Green Hairstreak caterpillar.

Parts used: Flowers, Seeds.

Medicinal actions and uses: The plant has never played an important part in herbal medicine. Parkinson writes that "... some have used the flowers against the jaundice." and, Gerard states that "... the seeds are employed in medicines against the stone and staying of the laske." (laxness of the bowels.)

For burning: in Surrey and other counties, as well as France, it is used for burning:especially in baker's ovens and is cultivated for that purpose being cut every three years. The ashes are rich in alkali and can be used for washing, either in solution as lye, or mixed with clay and formed into balls and used as a substitute for soap.

Agricultural uses: The ashes are an excellent manure. Where gorse was abundant it was common to burn it to improve the land;after which an abundance of young shoots appear which are readily eaten by cattle.

Fodder: in some parts of England it was common to put gorse into a mill to bruise and crush it. It makes a nutritious fodder and cows are said to milk well upon this food alone. Sheep prefer it more finely cut or crushed. After crushing it is best to use it quickly as it soon starts to ferment. The seeds are said to be nutritious but do not appear to have been used for livestock feed.

Other uses: the leaf buds have been used as a substitute for tea and the flowers yield a beautiful yellow dye.