Trees

Gorse (Calicotome spinosa)

The Calicotome spinosa is part of the flora of the western Mediterranean that is very varied and abundant. The soils of these areas are conducive to resistant plants that balance the coastal landscape with the showy colors of its inflorescence and resistant vegetation.

This type of shrub is ideal for these areas and in the case of Aliaga, as it is also known, it is accompanied by striking yellow flowers that adorn the plant with their striking color. They are part of the natural landscaping adorning the soils of Western Europe.

Origin of Calicotome spinosa

The gorse, thorny broom or black gorse, has the scientific name of Calicotome spinosa. It is common to see it in the Mediterranean areas of countries such as France, Spain, Italy and Algeria. Its flowers adorn the plant between the months of March and May and are often seen on arid slopes, bushes, rocky soils and especially those that have suffered from recent burns.

In the past, flowers were used to make a very useful dye for coloring wool. Also the dried petals served as fuel for fireplaces, as it was very durable and effective. The shrub as such belongs to the family of Fabaceaes and the subspecies hispanica, infesta, ligústica Burnat and villosa are known. The term Calicatome comes from the Greek and Latin and its meaning is flower bud, envelope or chalice, clearly referring to the shape of the flower. Spinosa is a Latin epithet meaning thorns, of course, referring to the thorns present on the stem of the plant.

General characteristics

The initial physical appearance of Calicotome spinosa is a branched, thorny shrub. It measures between one and three meters in height depending on the area and the care that is provided. It has very sharp and strong axial spikes and individual yellow flowers or small clusters of three or eight flowers appear between March and June.

The leaves are divided into three petiolate leaflets that fix nitrogen to the soil when they expire. The fruit is a legume of approximately three centimeters that contains from two to nine seeds. The erect stems have 10 or 12 branches with an inverted V shape.

This plant is common in thermophilic bushes and stony soils with calcium or siliceous in northwestern Italy, southern France, northern Algeria and Libya and in some Spanish regions such as the Balearic Islands. The pollination of the Calicotome is entomologous, that is, through insects of its hermaphrodite flowers.

Cultivation and care

The wild origin of the Aliaga makes it occur naturally in lands that can be considered hostile to plant life. However, the possibility that some people are interested in planting it as an ornamental use is not ruled out. For this, the seedbeds should be planted in sunny areas, transplanting when they reach a height of five cm and preferably in spring. Do you want to know when and how to plant this shrub ? You should know that they are not plants that adapt to cold climates or tolerate frost well.

The ideal soil for its development are those with acidic, alkaline or neutral pH. Sandy or clay soils significantly strengthen their roots. They withstand droughts and wet and dry lands alike very well. It should be watered only to maintain humidity and never, water should accumulate, so well-drained soils are a priority for cultivation. Exposure to the sun must be direct, so it is very important to choose the land where you are going to sow well.

Plagues and diseases

So far there is no reliable information on the type of diseases or pests that can affect this species. However, and like others of its genus and species, they can be susceptible to some pests or fungi if they are found in flooded areas that reduce the health of Calicotome spinosa. Therefore, it is advisable to control the risks and keep it directly exposed to solar radiation. If any type of disease occurs, it is preferable to treat it with an organic pesticide.

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