This section is from the book "The Botanical Magazine; Or, Flower-Garden Displayed", by William Curtis. Also available from Amazon: The Botanical Magazine; or, Flower-Garden Displayed, Volume I.
Cytisus Laburnum. Common Laburnum.
Cal. 2-labiatus: ⅔. Legumen basi attenuatum.
CYTISUS Laburnum racemis simplicibus pendulis, foliolis ovato-oblongis. Linn. Syst. Veg. p. 666. ed. 14. Murr. Ait. Hort. Kew. V. 3. p. 49.
LABURNUM arbor trifolia anagyridi similis. Bauh. hist. 2. p. 361.
LABURNUM. Beane Trefoile. Park. Parad. p. 438.
Of the Laburnum, our nurseries afford two principal varieties, the broad and narrow-leaved; the latter (which is the one here figured) Mr. Miller was induced to make a species of under the name of alpinum; it certainly differs very materially from the broad-leaved one, yet is most probably only a seminal variety; the Laburnum figured in its wild state by Professor Jacquin, in his Flora Austriaca, has much broader leaves than ours, no mention is made by him of its being subject to vary.
Both Miller and Hanbury recommend the Laburnum to be cultivated not only as an ornamental but as a timber tree, the wood having a very close grain, a good colour, and bearing a high polish; they urge in its favour, that it is very hardy, a quick grower, and one that will thrive in almost any soil; the latter says, it will become a timber tree of more than a yard in girt: whatever success may attend its cultivation for the more useful purposes, as a hardy, deciduous, ornamental tree, it has long been the pride of our shrubberies and plantations.
It blossoms in May, and is usually very productive of seeds, by which it may be propagated most readily.
Hares and rabbits being fond of its bark, do great damage to plantations of Laburnum, especially in severe weather; I remember somewhere to have read, that these animals will not touch a tree if soot has been placed about it; perhaps, a circle drawn round the base of the tree with the new coal tar, which has a powerful smell of long duration, might keep off these noxious animals.
The Professor does not mention the precise height which he had observed these trees to attain in North-America, but it is evident that they acquire a considerable thickness, as the wood of the root as well as the body of the tree is manufactured into various utensils by the natives, and by the Indians into spoons in particular, whence it has obtained the name of the Spoon Tree.
The leaves have been found to prove poisonous to kine, horses, and sheep, but the deer are observed to brouse on them with impunity.
Peter Collinson, Esq. who was highly instrumental in enriching this country with the native plants of North-America, is said to have introduced this elegant species about the year 1734.
With us it succeeds best when planted with a northern aspect, well sheltered, in a soil composed of loam and bog earth, in a situation moderately moist, where the air is perfectly pure.
Being with difficulty propagated by suckers or layers, it is most commonly raised from American seeds.
 Matthiolus long since noticed the excellence of this wood, and speaks of it as being particularly used for making the best kind of bows; are our modern Toxopholites acquainted with this circumstance?