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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Laburnum x watereri - Golden Chain Tree

When ever I think about Laburnum I think of all the great photos of the Laburnum arch at Bodnant Gardens in Wales. This is what it should look like but, we were early…. Oh well, the garden was spectacular.

The Golden Chain Tree is a small, weak growing tree selected for the brilliant yellow flowers in the early spring. Growing to about 20' by 10' its habit is upright and fairly tight. This one below is from Spokane. If you encounter one, its likely to be the cultivar  'Vossi' which has longer flower clusters.

Leaves are deciduous, trifoliate, looking somewhat like a clover leaf. Leaflets are broadly oval, with serrations at the tips.

Flowers are yellow, pea like borne on long, potentially 2' long pendulous racemes. Emerging in the early spring, they can cover the whole tree. 

Fruit is a pod, typical legume, 3" long.

Twigs are green, covered with silver hairs. Buds are plump and round and also covered with silver hairs.

Mature bark is more or less green with diamond shaped lenticles, but may develop brownish areas with age.

This one is in Aptos.

Cant think of anything, the trifoliate leaves are pretty distinct as are the green twigs.

181 Via Trinita in median
Wingfoot Way (Corner of Wingfoot and St Andrews)

1 comment:

  1. We love our Golden Chain Tree (SF Castro). This tree is also very drought resistant, not as much as our cypress To get more flowers, shovel spike the root perimeter. We do this about every other year. Thanks for each full description with accompanying photo.

    Warning Danger (meaning it can kill)
    Golden Chain (Laburnum Anagyroides) is a majestic tree, with cascades of sunny yellow flowers. It has a long-held reputation as poison in English lore, particularly since its seeds look very similar to peas. They contain both Lupinine and dangerous enzyme inhibitors, and as few as 20 laburnum beans can kill a child.