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Not as poisonous as was once thought but can still cause vomiting, lethargy, frothing at the mouth and convulsions. There are many species of Laburnum and some hybrids, all of them and all parts of them are poisonous.

Hedgerow Type
Common Names Laburnum, Golden Chain
Scientific Name Laburnum sp.
Season Start Jan
Season End Dec
Please note that each and every hedgerow item you come across may vary in appearance to these photos.


Has clover like trifoliate green leaves.


Yellow pea like flowers hanging in long, pendulous racemes for about three weeks, normally at the end of May and beginning of June.

Seed Pods

The seed pods hang off the tree in great numbers in early Summer looking very much like pea pods, this is hardly surprising as Laburnum is in the Faboideae family, a subfamily of the Fabaceae or Pea family.


Fairly smooth for bark and can have multiple trunks/stems.


Originally from southern Europe it is now mainly in gardens as an ornamental but can occasionally be found as an escapee.


Fairly common.

Other Facts

There are many cases of Laburnum poisoning but most involve just nausea or vomiting quickly followed by a full recovery. Although thankfully rare, deaths from Laburnum poisoning have been reported. The main toxin in the plant is cytisine.
Laburnum wood should not be burned as the smoke produced is also toxic.


2 comments for Laburnum

  1. Diane Farr says:

    When and how do you plant pods??? What kind of lighting should we plant it in??? How far apart???

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      Remove the seeds from the pods, store them in a dry place until March or April then plant a few in some moist compost in pots, they like water but not being waterlogged. When they come up you can transfer them to larger pots and plant out at any time between September and March. Laburnum likes full sun if possible and can also take the frost in winter. Do not feed or water them once established. Do not place near a pond as it will poison the water and remember to advise any children that the peas are poisonous.

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