Hill slopes and riverbeds that are golden with flowering gorse are a familiar sight over much of New Zealand’s low-fertility land. Introduced in the first years of European settlement, the shrub quickly spread from hedge plantings to cleared land and overgrazed pastures. Unlike most native shrubs, gorse produces seed that remains viable for decades. The plant also resprouts after fire, so it soon dominates frequently burnt sites. If left undisturbed, gorse scrub is replaced by taller native broadleaved vegetation in 30–60 years, depending on the location.
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Southern Environmental Association
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