Mediterranean gorse (Ulex parviflorus)

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Species: Ulex parviflorus Pourr.

Family: Fabaceae

Common names: Mediterranean gorse; aliaga, aulaga, tojo (Spanish); gatosa (Catalan); Ajonc de Provence (French)

Brief description: shrub, up to 2 m tall. No leaves, they are converted to spines. It retain standing dead branches. Yellow flowers. Small pods with one to three seeds dispersed explosively at the beginning of the summer.

Distribution: western Mediterranean basin: Spain, France, North Africa.

Habitat: fire-prone shurblands

Regeneration: Does not resprout but it recruits well after disturbances, especially after fire when high soil temperatures break seed dormancy and induce germination.

Interactions: Predispersal seeds predation by Exapion fasciolatum

Uses and overuses: It is a very flammable plant and was used in the past to heat ovens. Currently it is considered a problem for fire and fuel management.

Status: abundant