Gorse: declared pest

Page last updated: Friday, 27 September 2019 - 3:43pm

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

Gorse (Ulex europaeus) is a declared pest in Western Australia (WA). This article describes the nature of the plant with links to requirements land owners/occupiers must adhere to, pest control methods and how to search, detect and report it.

Form: shrub — perennial

Status: present in WA

Gorse has been prioritised at a national level as a Weed of National Significance (WoNS).


An erect much branched, intensely prickly shrub, to four metres high, reproducing by seed. 

Stems: longitudinally ridged, hairy, with numerous spines to five centimetres long.

Leaves: dark green, narrow and spine-like one to three centimetres long, numerous, hairy with no leaf stalk; spaced evenly along the branches.

Flowers: bright yellow pea flowers, 2-2.5 centimetres long, fragrant, on short stalks, produced in axil of leaves or in terminal clusters.

Fruit: dark coloured, more or less egg shaped pod, one to two centimetres long, densely hairy, containing two to six seeds.

Seed: green to brown, about three millimetres long, somewhat triangular shaped smooth and shiny. Hard coated, and long-lived in soil.

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Agricultural and economic impact

Gorse invades pastures, roadsides and other disturbed areas, forming dense impenetrable thickets about two metres high and creating a fire hazard. Gorse can provide shelter for pests such as rabbits.

Declared pest category

The Western Australian Organism List (WAOL) contains information on the area(s) in which this pest is declared and the control and keeping categories to which it has been assigned in Western Australia (WA). Search for gorse in the WAOL using the scientific name Ulex europaeus.

Requirements for land owners/occupiers and other persons

Requirements for land owners/occupiers and other persons if this pest is found can be sourced through the declared plant requirements link.

Search > detect > report

MyPestGuide™ Reporter
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Pest and Disease Information Service (PaDIS)
+61 (0)8 9368 3080

Detectability: medium difficulty to find. Gorse is a distinctive, dark green, densely spiny plant that can produce numerous bright yellow pea flowers. It is sometimes confused with native Jacksonia species.

Who is likely to find it: biosecurity groups, local governments, NRM groups, landholders and others in southern parts of the South West Land Division, particularly members of the Gorse Network.

When to find it: gorse is a perennial, so plants can be found all year round, but gorse is most conspicuous when flowering. Gorse flowers abundantly in spring and late summer-autumn.

Where to find it: gorse is most likely to be found in and around the Albany area.

Control method

Control methods for this declared plant can be found through the gorse control and the gorse: what you should know pages.

Management calendarTable displays: Search Mar-May and Sep-Nov. Germination Mar-May and Sep-Nov. Actively growing Jan-May and Sep-Dec. Flowering Mar-May and Sep-Nov. Fruiting: Dec-Feb. Treatment Sep-May. Manual removal Jan-Dec.

Further information

Further information on gorse can be found through the gorse: what you should know page.

Contact information

Pest and Disease Information Service (PaDIS)
+61 (0)8 9368 3080
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