Laburnum: Not so Dangerous After All

rambling ratz

Laburnum is a native European tree belonging to the pea family. They blossom with beautiful yellow flowers that hang in racemes, earning it the name, Golden Chain Tree.Photo of laburnum tree

They are a popular tree in gardens and parks, especially as they can be trained to grow over pergolas and trellis to great effect. The wood is traditionally used in cabinet making as well as musical instruments, especially Great Highland bagpipes. Many species of butterfly and moth rely on laburnum as a food source during their larval stage.

However, this tree does have a dark side. Every part of it, bark, flowers, seeds and leaves are deadly poisonous. This is particularly worrisome as the seed pods that form when the flowers die, resemble pea pods.Photo of laburnum seeds This is mostly due to an alkaloid, cytisine. When ingested this causes vomitting, diarrhea, convulsions, coma and sometimes death. There have been anecdotal reports of kittens dying…

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