Laburnum (Laburnum anagyroides)

Laburnum (Laburnum anagyroides)

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Common Name(s): Laburnum, Golden Chain

Scientific Name: Laburnum anagyroides

Distribution: Central and Southern Europe

Tree Size: 20-30 ft (6-9 m) tall, 6-12 in (15-30 cm) trunk diameter

Average Dried Weight: 53 lbs/ft3 (850 kg/m3)

Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .69, .85

Janka Hardness: 2,020 lbf (8,990 N)*

*Estimated hardness based on specific gravity

Modulus of Rupture: No data available

Elastic Modulus: No data available

Crushing Strength: No data available

Shrinkage:No data available

Color/Appearance: Heartwood color ranges from an orangish brown to a darker violet brown, darkening with age. Clearly demarcated sapwood is a pale yellow. Laburnum’s dark color make it suitable for use as an ebony substitute, particularly within its natural range in Europe. Wide rays can exhibit ray fleck on quartersawn surfaces. Endgrain slices of Laburnum are sometimes used in making a decorative “oyster veneer” pattern for use in furniture.

Grain/Texture: Grain is usually straight, with a fine, even texture. Good natural luster.

Endgrain: Ring-porous; large earlywood pores 2-3 rows wide, medium to large latewood pores in clusters and diagonal tangential bands, moderately numerous; solitary and radial multiples of 2-3; heartwood mineral/gum deposits occasionally present; growth rings distinct; medium to wide rays visible without lens, spacing wide; parenchyma vasicentric and confluent.

Rot Resistance: No official data is available, though it is presumed to be quite durable as it has been used for fenceposts.

Workability: Despite its high density and hardness, Laburnum is generally easy to work. It is known to be an excellent turning wood, and is also favored for carving as well.

Odor: No characteristic odor.

Allergies/Toxicity: Although severe reactions are quite uncommon, Laburnum contains the toxin cytisine. Taken in large quantities, cytisine can be fatal; however, in smaller quantities (such as those inhaled during woodworking operations), constitutional effects have been reported, such as nausea, vomiting, and headache. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.

Pricing/Availability: Because of the tree’s small size, Laburnum is likely to remain available only on a small hobbyist scale. Laburnum is primarily only available within its natural range in Europe.

Sustainability: This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Common Uses: Turned objects, musical instruments (woodwinds), furniture, veneer, fence posts, archery bows, carving, and small specialty wood objects.

Comments: Laburnum is widely planted as an ornamental tree throughout Europe. It sometimes goes by the name “Golden Chain,” so named for its vertical rows of yellowish gold flowers that bloom in the spring.

Related Species:

None available.

Related Articles:

None available.

Scans/Pictures: A special thanks to Steve Earis for providing the wood sample and turned photo of this wood species.

Laburnum (Laburnum anagyroides)

Laburnum (sanded)

Laburnum (sealed)

Laburnum (sealed)

Laburnum (endgrain)

Laburnum (endgrain)

Laburnum (endgrain 10x)

Laburnum (endgrain 10x)

Laburnum (turned)

Laburnum (turned)


  1. Dawn Thompson September 24, 2015 at 5:57 am - Reply

    I am hoping you could help, my partner has been given some Laburnum and wanted to make some cake stands out of it but needs to know if it could be treated and if so what with to make it safe for culinary use. I am hoping you could help.

    • qwerty January 25, 2018 at 2:45 pm - Reply

      It’s very easy. Thin finishes will let toxins pass through and can flake or wear off. Your best bet will be

      1) a THICK layer of transparent resin , look for food grade and mildly heat resistant polyester, urethanes or epoxies, self leveling of course, very easy to apply, often used in bars and restaurants for countertops to see the wood through.

      2) Don’t bother with the finish type, use the one you want even if it’s not food safe, but just be sure to put your cakes on food compatibles plates/platters which will be placed on the wooden stands , silver platters would be very nice on a laburnum stand for example.

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