At­trac­tive tree is highly poi­sonous

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Countryfile -

Avery at­trac­tive small tree I have seen blos­som­ing mainly in gar­dens this spring is the labur­num tree or golden rain tree.

The bees love this tree and it be­longs to the sweet pea fam­ily and orig­i­nates from the Mediter­ranean re­gion of Europe.

The tree was in­tro­duced into Bri­tain in the 16th cen­tury.

This tree is very pop­u­lar and is planted in gar­dens and parks but oc­ca­sion­ally self seeds and pops up in waste ground and way­sides across Kent.

The seeds take 18 months to ger­mi­nate and the tree we see to­day is usu­ally now a mix­ture of hy­brids be­tween com­mon and scotch labur­num.

The only prob­lem with this tree is that is highly poi­sonous. All parts of the tree are poi­sonous, even the leaves, with the al­ka­loid cyti­sine be­ing able to be ab­sorbed through the skin if touched. How­ever, it is the black seed pods which at­tract chil­dren who try to eat the seeds.

The wood shows a deep pur­ple choco­late colour in­side a paler yel­low outer wood and was used as a sub­sti­tute for ebony, in par­tic­u­lar labur­num wood was used for parts of the pipes on bag­pipes.

For more in­for­ma­tion con­tact Owen Leyshon, Rom­ney Marsh Coun­try­side Part­ner­ship, tele­phone 01797 367934 or log on to

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