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Okay, this is my shot at a public safety warning. As usual, it is based on my own experiences.
To cut a long story short, when I was young (maybe 8 years old) I ate some seeds from the laburnum tree in our garden, thinking that they were peas. They look somewhat similar, as they are in pods, except that they are rough and grey rather than smooth and green. The key difference, however, is that laburnum seeds are poisonous. In fact, if I hadn't got to the hospital while they were still in my stomach, I would have died.
The important thing here is that my parents had no idea what the trees in our garden were until this happened. Afterwards, this tree was chopped down. If you have any trees where you live, I strongly recommend that you find out what they are (you can buy books which are like tree encyclopediae). If you have any laburnum trees, destroy them. Or if you don't want to cut the tree down, at least make sure that everyone who could come into contact with it (particularly children) knows about the danger.
You can see some official confirmation of this on the BBC website.
This page was last updated on 2003-12-29 by John C. Kirk