Laburnums

Smooth Laburnum Common Laburnum Smooth Laburnum Common Laburnum

What are they?

Laburnums are highly attractive and ornamental members of the Pea family. Sometimes called Golden Chain Tree or Golden Rain Tree, they are very popular as garden plants, although the potential for the poisonous seeds to be swallowed by small children has made them less popular over time.

Where are they found?

Laburnums are native to Europe and are introduced in the UK, being widely planted as ornamentals in churchyards, parks, street plantings and similar places. They may occasionally be found as self-sown seedlings wherever there are planted trees nearby.

Identification

Laburnums readily catch the eye when in full flower, with their abundance of yellow blooms hanging in pendulous bunches, but the species can be difficult to tell apart. Identification is best made using the seed pods and late summer is the best time to look for these.



Common Laburnum      Laburnum anagyroides

Introduced widely as a popular ornamental tree. Occasionally found semi-naturalised in churchyards, hedgerows and woodland edge, where usually planted, but does occasionally set seed. Flowers abundantly in May. Seed pods have a relatively narrow ridge along the upper edge and are lightly covered in whitish hairs. The pods usually develop a full set of seeds.

Common Laburnum Common Laburnum Common Laburnum Common Laburnum
Habit
Flowers
Flowers
Leaf
Common Laburnum Common Laburnum Common Laburnum Common Laburnum
Young seed pods
Old seed pods
Winter bud
Bark


Smooth Laburnum      Laburnum alpinum

Introduced as an ornamental tree. Occasionally found semi-naturalised in churchyards or on old garden sites. Flowers May. Seed pods have a relatively wide ridge along the upper edge and are hairless and shiny. The pods usually develop a full set of seeds. The plant is often called Scottish Laburnum, but the name has no relevance to this species which is native to the Alps and northern Balkans.

Smooth Laburnum Smooth Laburnum
Leaves
Leaf
Smooth Laburnum Smooth Laburnum Smooth Laburnum Smooth Laburnum
Young seed pods
Old seed pods
Winter bud
Bark