Toxic Parts:
flowers, seeds, roots
quinolizidine alkaloids
Flower Color:
  • flower color
gardens, ornamental

Time of Greatest Risk


Geographical Distribution

Golden chain tree distribution - United States

Related Species

Golden Chain Tree

Laburnum anagyroides

Laburnum, Golden Rain, Almindelig Guldregn, Sydgullregn, Gullregn, Koelreuteria Paniculata
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Golden chain tree (Laburnum anagyroides) is a small, upright, low-branched deciduous perennial tree or large shrub that is native to Europe. It is a popular garden and park ornamental in subtropical climates worldwide. It is notable for its profuse and showy late spring bloom of yellow flowers in dense, pendulous, wisteria-like racemes.

Golden Chain Tree Toxic Components

All parts of golden chain tree are highly poisonous, especially the seeds. The main toxin is cytisine, a quinolizidine, nicotine-like alkaloid that is found predominately in the flowers, seeds, and roots. Ingesting seeds in the amount of .05% per horse's body weight can be fatal.

What Golden Chain Tree Looks Like

  • Tree shape: Vase shaped, with a central trunk that branches into an upright, arching shape that's widest at the top.
  • Height: 15 to 30 feet tall
  • Leaves: Trifoliate, elliptical or oval-shaped; alternate leaflets; medium green, bronze, or gold.
  • Flowers: Drooping clusters of golden-yellow sweatpea-shaped flowers that bloom from May to June and seed pods mature by the end of August.
  • Fruit: Green to brown; large, flattened pods, containing 2 to 7 kidney-shaped dark brown seeds. Fruits develop in the fall months.
  • Bark: Smooth; green