T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Laburnum anagyroides (Golden chain)

Kingdom:   Plantae
(unranked):        Angiosperms
(unranked):        Eudicots
(unranked):        Rosids
Order:       Fabales
Family:      Fabaceae
Subfamily:  Faboideae
Tribe:        Genisteae
Genus:      Laburnum
Species:     L. anagyroides
Binomial name: Laburnum anagyroides
Synonyms: Cytisus laburnum
Common names: Golden chain, Golden rain, Laburnum

 

 All parts of this plant are highly toxic

Laburnum anagyroides is a exotic, deciduous shrub growing to 4-7 m high. In New Zealand it has become naturalised and grows wild in the South Island and southern half of NorthIsland in the cooler, upland areas.
During late spring bright yellow, sweet scented, pea-like flowers, arranged in pendulous racemes 10-25cm long hang from the branches.
The leaves (3-8 cm long) are generally trifoliate and oval, with long petioles, smooth on the upperside and hairy on the underside.
The fruit is a green flattened pod, 4-7.5cm long. The pods contain 2-7 kidney-shaped, dark brown seeds.

All parts of this plant are highly toxic if ingested. The toxic principle is an alkaloid called cytosine which is extremely poisonous to humans as well as goats and horses. The symptoms are nervousness, stomach and intestinal irritation with nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea; irregular pulse, convulsions and coma. 

Roadside infestation of Laburnum anagyroides East of Taihape, North Island








The upper surface of a leaf.
 

The hairy underside of a leaf