Laburnocytisus - Growing Guide

Growing Laburnocytisus 'Adamii'

(Chamaecytisus purpureus + Laburnum anagyloides)

This is remarkable and highly unusual ‘chimaera’ or graft hybrid between two species of very different growth sizes and habits. This was first created in a nursery near Paris in 1825.

The end result of grafting a broom and a laburnum is a small, totally hardy, tree with laburnum forming the core and the broom the outer envelope. Some branches bear the leaves and yellow flowers of the laburnum while other branches bear dense congested clusters of the purple flowered broom. Some branches even produce intermediate flowers which are a coppery-pink. So this is not a simple graft with a rootstock of one species and a superimposed graft of another. In effect, for some peculiar and little understood genetic reason, these two species combine to grow together as one small tree exhibiting the characteristics of both.

It is perfectly possible to graft an apple onto a pear tree or a lemon onto an orange but the two species remain as separate parts of the host plant. They do not intermingle in the same way as Laburnocytisus and grow as one plant. 

There are two small trees growing to around 20ft at Caerhays after 30 years of growth. The appearance of the yellow and pink flowers is completely different between the two trees. The overall growth of the trees has become lopsided with irregular Cytisus growth on one side and we should have pruned one earlier to prevent it toppling over. The stump and 6ft of trunk were up-righted and new growth has restarted exhibiting leaves of both species in the shoots.

If you were to grow the seeds from this tree they would turn out as either laburnum or Cytisus. The only way to recreate this chimera is therefore to graft Cytisus purpureus onto a common laburnum seedling.

We will only occasionally have a very few plants of this peculiar tree available on our website.




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