Gorse is a woody, deep-rooted perennial legume, capable of growing to 4 m tall. It has numerous small green leaves that form hard spines up to 5 cm long. Bright yellow flowers emerge in autumn and spring and plants produce large quantities of seed. The hard-coated seeds are spread up to 6 m by an explosive opening of the pods in mid summer.
Flowers are bright yellow, pea-like, approximately 20 mm long, and are borne all over the plant. The buds develop during February and March; however, flowering occurs in two distinct seasons, spring and autumn. Gorse seedlings can be eaten by livestock but mature plants have spines that can cause injury. Gorse is very competitive and reduces the productivity of pasture. Dense infestations restrict movement of livestock and provide a haven for rabbits and other pests.