Details

Common Name
Golden chain tree
Botanic Name
Laburnum anagyroides
Plant Family
Fabaceae
Distribution
Prefers more temperate climates, but is often grown as an ornamental tree in many areas where it is afforded some protection.
Animals Affected
Horses, cattle, dogs and humans have been poisoned by eating the seeds.
Golden chain tree
Toxic Principle
The quinolizidine alkaloid cytisine with nicotine-like properties, is thought to be the principle toxin. The oral toxic dose of seeds for a horse is 0.05% of the animal’s body weight. The immature seed pods and seeds are highly toxic. Cytisine is secreted in milk
Description
A large deciduous shrub or tree growing to 30 feet in height. The leaves are produced on long stalks, each with 3 leaflets, the underside of which are covered with soft hairs. The pendulous racemes are up to 30 inches in length, with numerous bright yellow pea-like flowers. The seed pods with up to 8 flat seeds split open to release the seeds. The root has a licorice taste.
Gastrointestinal
Affected animals may show loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, may be observed prior to death.
Musculoskeletal
Muscle tremors, irregular gait, and eventually recumbency may occur. Degeneration of the muscles is observable microscopically
Treatment
There is no specific treatment, and affected animals should be given supportive therapy to treat dehydration, nervous signs etc.
Nervous System
Excitement, convulsions, coma and death.
Ocular System
Dilated pupils
Diagnosis
The presence of neuro-muscular signs and gastrointestinal upset, plus evidence of the seeds being ingested is suggestive.
Special Notes
Golgen chain trees are not suitable for planting in situations where animals might have access to the leaves and seeds.
Pendulous flower stems of the golden chain tree
Seed pods