Laburnum Tree – Lethal Golden Chain

Laburnum tree is a very small and beautiful tree, it has yellow and golden flowers which make it look very gorgeous. The hanging bunches of really bright yellow beautiful flowers are something that distinguishes the common laburnum tree from the other trees.

The leaves of the laburnum tree are also distinct, they come in pairs of three at the end of the stems and they form an arrow tip shape at the outer end. After the growing season gets over these magnificent yellow flowers turn into black seed pods. These black seed pots fall on the garden soil. It is very easy to get mistaken by the beauty of the laburnum tree but it is in fact one of the most poisonous plants that we can grow in the gardens of our home.

Once the yellow flowers develop into the black seed pods, they can be picked and eaten, as they seem irresistible, especially to the young children, who are quite unaware of the harm these seed pods can cause. If these seed pods are consumed, they can cause vomiting and nausea, and if these seeds are consumed in large amounts then they can be pretty lethal. So you have to always ensure that you watch over your kids playing when they are playing by the laburnum tree.

laburnum tree
Laburnum Tree

And not only seed pods but almost all parts of this tree are poisonous; the roots, the trunk, bark, branches, twigs, leaves, seedpods, flowers, everything is poisonous. The type of poison that’s found in the tree is called cytosine or sophorine, it is a type of alkaloid that naturally occurs in many other plants too.

And if gets ingested by a person, it may cause conditions like stomach pains, dilated eyes, drowsiness and it can also lead a patient to a comatose stage. Because of its toxicity, it is generally not planted in public spaces like parks and it is normally planted only in private gardens and other private places.

The laburnum tree is very attractive to the pollinating insects such as bees and flies. Although these trees are not very popular with birds, the big birds’ nesting is not quite feasible in the tree because this tree does not grow that big and the branch structure is also not that strong to properly support the big nest of the birds.

laburnum seedpods
Laburnum Seedpods

Laburnum Tree – Scientific And Descriptive Features

The laburnum tree has two main species with scientific names “Laburnum Anagyroides” and “Laburnum Alpinum”, the tree belongs to the family “Fabaceae”. The laburnum does not grow very tall; they generally grow in the height range of 15 to 25 feet.  

The leaves are trifoliate and they are generally 2 to 5 cm long. The tree has very smooth bark and there are little orange type diamonds scattered across the bark of the tree. The heartwood of the laburnum tree is dark, it is almost black in color and the sapwood, which is the outer part of the wood, is creamy-white and yellowish in color. The heartwood, because its dark color is sometimes used as a substitute for ebony because the ebony tree also has a very dark color wood.

laburnum leaves
Laburnum Leaves

It is a deciduous tree and it grows well in the areas with cold climate. It also likes to grow in the well-drained soil areas, it has a multi-branch trunk system. It is known as the golden chain tree because of the densely packed bright yellow flowers that it grows generally during the spring season.

How To Grow A Laburnum

This tree can grow pretty well in most of the zones which are in the range of five to nine. If you want to plant the tree in the zone which is around zone five then you should plant it in the full sun, because the climate is generally colder. And if you want to plant it in the areas around zone nine, where the climate is much warmer then you should plant the tree in a partially sunny area.

The tree also likes to grow in a soil that is well-drained; it does not grow well in the area with soggy soil. So make sure you put a lot of compost, some gravel, and other granular fertilizer to aerate the soil, it also helps in keeping the proper soil temperature and maintaining proper moisture.

This tree can grow to be about 15 to 20 feet tall and it also grows fairly wide, so initially make sure that it does not get exposed to strong wind forces. And like any other tree, this tree is also going to get benefitted by some light pruning. So if you get a lot of cross branching then you should definitely trim some of these off and open the tree up for proper growth.

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