Common name: Gorse, Furze

Scientific name: Ulex europaeus

Family: Fabaceae (Pea)

This familiar spiny plant is found across Ireland on field edges, hedges and waste ground.


A large evergreen shrub with leaves reduced to sharp spines and typical yellow peaflowers with a gorgeous coconut-honey scent. The flowers can be found in every month (not on the same plant) – “when gorse is in flower, kissing’s in season”.


The gorgeously scented blossoms can be used as a salad garnish or to make tea. This infusion can also be used to flavour set custard and ice cream and added to cooked fruit.


Gorse-scented custard

5 organic eggs, 1.5 tablespoons caster sugar, 20g gorse flowers, 1.25 pints full-cream milk

Whisk the eggs with the sugar. Gently heat the milk and gorse flowers for 10 mins, then strain off the flowers and pour the milk over the egg mixture, whisking all the time. Return the mixture to a heavy saucepan over a gentle heat and stir with wooden spoon, ensuring that the mixture doesn’t stick to the bottom, until the mixture coats the back of the spoon. Do not allow it to boil or it will curdle. This custard mixture can be frozen in an ice cream maker to produce a creamy icecream.

(Part of Douglas Tidy Town’s Foraging Trail)