When the gorse is out of bloom, kissing’s out of fashion

So you can breathe a sigh of relief. Of course, you can find the yellow flowers of the thorny gorse shrub all year round thriving on poor acidic soils. It is an evergreen member of the pea family with small coconut-scented flowers which are edible and used in salads. They make a nice cup of tea; or beer. And used as a yellow dye. Traditionally gorse was used as a cattle fodder after first being crushed by being bruised with a mallet. In Celtic folklore a sprig of gorse hung over a doorway will protect the house from witches.

There are three species of gorse in Britain. This is probably the common gorse (Ulex europaeus) which is the taller. It is also known as whin or furze. Hence the alternative saying ‘when the furze is in bloom, my love’s in tune’.
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