The Laburnum Top

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ENGLISH PROJECT Poem : The Laburnum Top By- Akshay Jangra on Class – 11 th Science Year – 2010-2011


Introduction Laburnum is a genus of two species of small trees in the subfamily Faboideae of the pea family Fabaceae. The spices are : Laburnum anagyroides (Common Laburnum) Laburnum alpinum (Alpine Laburnum) They are native to the mountains of southern Europe from France to the Balkan Peninsula. Some botanists include a third species, Laburnum caramanicum But this native of southeast Europe and Asia Minor is usually treated in a distinct genus Podocytisus , more closely allied to the brooms.


They have yellow pea-flowers in pendulous racemes 10-30 cm long in spring, which makes them very popular garden trees. In L. anagyroides the Racemes are 10-20 cm long, with densely packed flowers; in L. alpinum the racemes are 20-30 cm long, but with the flowers sparsely along the raceme. The leaves are trifoliate, somewhat like a clover, the leaflets typically 2-3 cm long in L. anagyroides and 4-5 cm long in L. alpinum . The yellow flowers are responsible for the old poetic name 'golden chain tree'. Features

Biological Classification:

Biological Classification Kingdom: Plantae Division: Magnoliophyta Class: Magnoliopsida Order: Fabales Family: Fabaceae Subfamily: Faboideae Tribe: Cytiseae Genus: Laburnum Fabr. Species anagyroides and alpinum

Indian Laburnum Tree:

Indian Laburnum Tree Now let’s see some common features of the INDIAN Laburnum Tree English Name: Indian Laburnum Hindi Name: Amaltas Family : Caesalpiniaceae


Description This is one of the most beautiful and indigenous trees of India; it adds color during the drier and hotter parts of summer. This tree is generally small to middle-sized, 6-15 m. high; the trunk is short.


Leaves The leaves are of a deep color, compound in structure, each consisting of 4-8 pairs of leaflets; the leaflets are 5-12 cm. long, and about two-third as broad. All leaves are shed during the months of March to May.


Fruits The fruit is one of the most striking sights on our hills. It is about 50 -60 cm. long, 2-2.25 cm. thick, black, or nearly black in color when ripe, with many faint transverse lines showing the inner partitions through the skin.


Flowers It is during the leafless period of March and May that the flowers come out in great profusion; they come out in long droppings and are bright yellow in color and 3-5 cm. long.

Uses of Indian Laburnum:

Uses of Indian Laburnum The tree is very decorative, Generally planted for the sake of its showy flowers. The timber is hard and durable The flowers are at times eaten as vegetables by the hill tribes of India. The pulp of the fruit is employed as a mild purgative The root is used as a tonic and to reduce fever.

Dangers from Laburnum:

All parts of the plant are poisonous and can be lethal if consumed in excess. Symptoms of Laburnum poisoning may include intense sleepiness, vomiting, convulsive movements, coma, slight frothing at the mouth and unequally dilated pupils. In some cases, diarrhoea is very severe and at times the convulsions are markedly tetanic. Laburnum seed toxicity is a common cause of poisoning in young children, who mistake the seeds for peas Dangers from Laburnum


Now let’s move on to the little yellow birds Goldfinch GOLDFINCH

General Information:

General Information The American Goldfinch, or wild canary, a delightful bird. They are abundant over most of North America where there is suitable habitat. They are one of the world’s 140 or so species of Cardueline finches (family Fringillidae) that include the House Finch, Pine Siskin, Lesser Goldfinch, Lawrence’s Goldfinch, Common Redpoll and Hoary Redpoll, and in Europe the Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Twite and Linnet. For centuries, the bright colors and cheery songs of the world’s finches have made them popular cage birds. Frank Chapman (1902) in his Handbook wrote of the Goldfinch; “Their flight is expressive of their joyous nature, and as they bound through the air they hum a gay ‘per-chic-o-ree.’ Their love song is delivered with an ecstasy and abandon which carries them off their feet, and they circle over the fields sowing the air with music.”

Biological Classification:

Biological Classification Phylum: Chordata Class: Aves Order: Passeriformes Family: Fringillidae Genus: Carduelis


Description During the summer months, males are obvious with their black caps, tails, and wings and their bright lemon yellow bodies. Females are less brilliant, with their olive-yellow coloring and lack of a black cap. Males loose their black caps during the winter, although some black coloring may appear on their foreheads. The face and throat of the male retain some yellow, but the crown, nape, back, and scapulars turn buffy brown. Wings are primarily black, but the lesser coverts and tips of the greater coverts are dirty white. The tail is black with white edges. The bill and legs are yellow. The female in winter plumage has similar coloring, although she has no yellow on her head or throat.

Basic Identification Tips:

Basic Identification Tips Length: 4.25 inches Small, seed-eating bird Short, conical bill Short, forked tail Plumage held in Fall and Winter Yellow face Brownish-olive upperparts Whitish under parts Blackish wings with pale wing bars

Male alternate:

Male alternate Plumage held in Spring and Summer Black forehead Yellow head, back, belly Black wings and tail White wing bars and tertian edges White rump and under tail coverts Pale bill and legs These finches are 4.5 to 5.5 inches long with a wingspan of 8.75 to 9 inches. Weights range from 12 to a little more than 14 grams.


Behavior Goldfinches are very sociable and often gather in flocks with other birds. Some populations are short-distance migrators and move south in the winter.

Economic Importance:

Economic Importance American Goldfinches are almost exclusively grainivorous, even when feeding young. They provide an important service by consuming large numbers of weed seeds. The increase in backyard feeding has also benefited this species.

Slide 23:

Summary of the poem “The Laburnum Top” The top of the Laburnum; a short tree with hanging branches, yellow flowers and poisonous seeds: any of several small trees belonging to the genus Laburnum,  of the legume family, having elongated clusters of pendulous yellow flowers, esp. L. alpinum,  the Scotch laburnum; is quite still and silent in the yellow afternoon of the September sunlight. The leaves of this tree are turning yellow and all its seeds are falling slowly. When the goldfinch; a small singing bird with yellow feathers on its wings; a European finch, Carduelis carduelis, having a crimson face and wings marked with yellow: any of certain related

Slide 24:

American finches of the genus Carduelis, as C. tristis , the male of which has yellow body plumage in the summer; comes with a twitching chirrup of suddenness, a startlement; to disturb or agitate suddenly as by surprise or alarm: to cause to start involuntarily, by or as by a sudden shock: at a branch end. Just like a lizard which is sleek alert and abrupt she enters the thick branches of the Laburnum and starts up the machine of chitterlings; the small intestine of swine, esp. when prepared as food; a tremor of wings and Trillings. The whole tree trembles and thrills which is the engine of the goldfinch’s family. She stokes; to poke, stir up, and feed (a fire): to tend the fire of (a furnace, esp. one used with a boiler to generate steam for an engine); supply with fuel: to shake up the

Slide 25:

coals of a fire: to tend a fire or furnace: the tree completely and flirts out to a branch-end, showing her barred face identity mask. Then with an eerie; Inspiring inexplicable fear, dread, or uneasiness; strange and frightening: Suggestive of the supernatural; mysterious; delicate whistle-chirrup whisperings, she launches away towards the infinite; immeasurably great: indefinitely or exceedingly great: unlimited or immeasurable in extent of space, duration of time, etc.: unbounded or unlimited; boundless; endless: and the laburnum subsides; to sink to a low whisperings, she launches away towards the infinite; immeasurably great: indefinitely or exceedingly great: unlimited or immeasurable in extent of space, duration of time, etc.:

Slide 26:

Exercise…. Why has the poem Laburnum Top by Ted Hughes been titled so? Answer : The poem is titled as Laburnum top because the main character of the poem the goldfinch settles in the tree and feeds it's young ones in it . The poem describes the situation of the tree before the goldfinch sits and after it sits.

Slide 27:

2 . What is the Meaning of the poem the laburnum top by Ted Hughes? Answer : The Poem "The Laburnum Top" is a beautiful poem by Ted Hughes. In this poem, the poet has used the Laburnum tree and goldfinches as a symbol of life and its fluctuations. He describes the visiting of goldfinches on the Laburnum tree and how she has made a nest on it. When the goldfinches have chicks, it brings alive the tree as the chicks start to rustle and chirp. Hughes is trying to convey the message that life is a process of exchange and transformation. People are alive because they undergo exchange of energy. The goldfinches transform the tree and make it alive, without the goldfinches and the chicks the laburnum is just

Slide 28:

another tree. 3. In the poem the laburnum top by Ted Hughes, to what is the bird's movement compared? Answer : Hughes uses a simile to compare the bird's movement to that of a lizard... "Then sleek as a lizard, and alert, and abrupt,"

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