Golden chain tree

Native to the mountains of central Europe, golden chain tree is a popular garden ornamental that produces colourful displays of yellow flowers. All parts of the golden chain tree are highly toxic.

Multiple golden chain cultivars and hybrids exist. While golden chain tree has naturalised in parts of Europe and New Zealand, the risk of it doing so in Queensland is relatively low. If golden rain tree does escape cultivation, it is most likely to grow wild in cooler, upland areas of South East Queensland.

Golden chain tree is not a prohibited or restricted invasive plant under the Biosecurity Act 2014.

Scientific name

Laburnum anagyroides


  • Small deciduous tree 4–9m tall.
  • Flowers are bright yellow, in hanging clusters, on pendulous elongated stems 10–20cm long.
  • Leaves are trifoliate, 3–7cm long, comprised of alternate leaflets, each 3–8cm long and 2.5cm wide.
  • Fruit is flattened green pod, 4–7.5cm long, 7.5mm wide.
  • Pods contain 2–7 kidney-shaped, dark brown seeds.


  • Prefers well drained, relatively moist soils.
  • Best suited to temperate climates, but can persist in subtropical areas.


  • Possibly naturalised in Queensland (anecdotal reports of escape from gardens).

Life cycle

  • Reproduces from seeds.
  • Can live up to 20 years.
  • Flowers May–June.
  • Seed pods appear in June, mature by August.

Affected animals

  • Native animals
  • humans
  • livestock



  • No impacts at present in Queensland (potentially invasive).
  • All parts of golden chain tree are toxic and can cause poisoning if ingested.

How it is spread

  • Seeds can be spread in fodder and dumped garden waste.
  • Can also spread by water and animals.

Legal requirements

  • Golden chain tree is not a prohibited or restricted invasive plant under the Biosecurity Act 2014. However, by law, everyone has a general biosecurity obligation (GBO) to take reasonable and practical steps to minimise the risks associated with invasive plants under their control.
  • Local governments must have a biosecurity plan that covers invasive plants in their area. This plan may include actions to be taken on Golden chain tree. Some of these actions may be required under local laws. Contact your local government for more information.

Further information