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It is not generally known that the much-admired laburnum contains a

strong poison, and is therefore an exceedingly dangerous plant. All its

parts--blossoms, leaves, seeds, even the bark and the roots--are charged

with a poison named cytisin, which was discovered by Husemann and

Marms in 1864.

A small dose of juice infused under the skin is quite sufficient to kill

a cat or a dog. Children have died from eating the seeds, of which ten

or twelve were sufficient to cause death. The worst of it is that there

is no remedy, no antidote against this poison. How many cases have

happened before the danger was discovered is of course only a matter of

conjecture, as few would suspect the cause to come from the lovely plant

that so delights the eye.

It has, however, long been known to gamekeepers and others, and used by

them to destroy "vermin." When quite a boy I remember an old uncle of

mine telling me to beware of it even in gathering the blossom.