(Laburnum anagyroides)

compound leaf

Winter twig
Winter twig


tree in flower


distribution map

These alternate trifoliate leaves consist of 3 leaflets 2.5-7.5 cm long, grey-green on top with silky white hairs below. The leaf stalk is 5-8 cm long.

ID check

It is a small deciduous tree up to 7 m in height, with a smooth bark, often branching from the base. It is very widely planted in parks and gardens, but also is used for hedging and often naturalised in waste or bushy places.

The yellow pea-like flowers hanging in long chains in May and June, give it another name, 'golden rain'.

Brown seed pods remain on the trees throughout the winter.


  • The seeds are extremely poisonous and should never be eaten.

  • The wood in the middle of the trunk is dark, chocolate brown and very hard. It was used as a substitute for ebony.

  • It is a native of the mountains of South Central Europe and Eastern France.

Return to Index Page