Saturday, December 15, 2012

Bloomin' broom

This is a plant similar to scotch broom. I think it's called gorse or ulex, or ajonc d'Europe in French. I'm not at all sure. It looks right when I compare it to photos on the internet, but it's flowering right now out in the vineyard and Wikipedia says that it normally flowers from February to June.

There's a bit of frost visible on the top flowers toward the end of the branch. Click to ulexinate.

It's got the spines that differentiate gorse from true broom. At any rate, I was surprised to see these bright yellow flowers out there one recent morning. Everything else was covered in frost.


  1. You have correctly identified it. Gorse is a real lifesaver for many creatures. Its main flowering season is indeed February to June, but it has some mechanism by which there is always a few gorse plants in flower everywhere.

    We had a tremendous windstorm here about 2am, and heavy rain.

  2. As Susan says Gorse [or Whin... yet another name] is in flower, to some extent, all the year round... personally I hate the smell when it is in full flower... far too sweetly scented for me... sickly so in fact... but where you can get it, Gorse Honey is absolutely wonderful. And a huge expanse of gorse in flower is a wonderful sight...

    So, Susan, it was a windstorm that woke me up... and not the cats! The bief is "grand café créme" this morning... and the neighbouring field, in the flood plain, is just that... flooded!! Rainfall overnight... 5mm.

  3. Hard rain woke me up at 4 a.m., and I had heard rain earlier, but I didn't notice any strong wind here.

  4. Quots. 1846, 1860, and 2002 explain the rationale behind this proverb and also the parallel saying when the furze is in bloom, my love's in tune.

    When whins [gorse] are out of bloom, Kissing's out of fashion. ‥Whins are never out of bloom.
    [1846 M. A. Denham Proverbs relating to Seasons, &c. 12]
    ‘When the gorse is out of bloom, young ladies,’ quoth Sir Giles,‘then is kissing out of fashion!’‥There is no day in the year when the blossom is off the gorse.
    [1860 G. J. Whyte-melville Holmby House I. iii.]
    ‘What's that old jingle about the gorse?’‥‘When the gorse is out of bloom, kissing is out of fashion.’
    [1974 A. Dwyer-joyce Brass Islands 175]
    Gorse can be found in flower at all seasons, hence sayings like ‘When gorse is out of season, kissing's out of fashion’, but in winter it yields no scent at all.
    [2002 Country Life 9 May 128]

  5. Must be a beautiful sight to see amidst the frost. The "brooms" are one of the many culprits tough on my allergies. I would have thought I'd be safe from them in your area in winter!

  6. Thanks all for informing me about Gorse/Whins. I especially enjoyed reading about kissing/out of fashion. Over the holidays I wonder how I can weave that into the conversation??? We just have Scotch Broom here in Oregon.

  7. That night time thing always bothers me during hurricanes. Why do they always arrive in the middle of the night?

  8. Walt, I am constantly amazed by the beauty that surrounds you. And you capture it so artistically.

  9. susan, thanks. This is the only one I've seen on our walks that's flowering right now. I'll keep my eyes out for more.

    tim, my sense of smell isn't what it ought to be, so I haven't noticed. Also, it's cold outside.

    mitch, it was quite surprising. Ken is also sensitive to broom. Achoo!

    mary, good luck!

    starman, I know!

    bill, thank you, kind sir.


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