Calpurnea aurea is a multi-stemmed, evergreen shrub or small tree belonging to the Fabaceae family. The tree normally reaches a mature height of 3-5m under favourable growing conditions and is very fast growing.
Its distribution stretches from the Eastern seaboard, KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, Limpopo to the Eastern Cape in the south. The Wild laburnum has been reported to be one of the first plants to be grown in Europe.
The leaves are compound, up to 20cm long, each having 5-15 pairs of leaflets and a terminal one. They are a fresh light green, graceful and drooping. Calpurnea aurea has a light, open crown and is well known for its beautiful golden yellow flowers that usually bloom in mid-summer and keeps on flowering for a long time. Flowers of this tree are visited by many insect species especially the carpenter bees. After flowering, fruits appear in form of light brown pods with wings on the upper edge.
Calpurnea aurea has a neat growth habit making it perfect for use in the smaller garden. Because of its frost and drought hardiness, the wild laburnum can easily adapt to a variety of climates. This tree is ideal for container planting although it seldom grows taller than 2m under these conditions. Its root system is not aggressive.