Hedge End tree in poison hysteria

Hedge Enders are up in arms over plans to fell a much loved laburnum tree outside the village hall.
The flowering tree was planted in 1956 by Hedge End Women’s Institute to commemorate their Golden Jubilee however there are plans to extend facilities for a play group which meets at the hall and there are fears that the children could be poisoned by the tree if they come into contact with it.
Every part of the laburnum is said to be toxic –and potentially fatal – however large quantities of the bitter tasting plant have to be ingested before symptoms arise.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries have no records of a fatality caused by laburnum poisoning although in 2007 a playgroup in Norwich admitted 15 of its charges to hospital after they were seen playing with laburnum pods from a tree in its grounds.
None of the children displayed any symptoms of being unwell but were still admitted as a precaution and the tree was subsequently felled.
Jill Borrows of Hedge end Women’s Institute and ‘Save Sid’ campaigner Matthew Myatt who are trying to save the tree dubbed ‘Lily Laburnum’ said:
“Local Hedge End children should embrace their local history and heritage and not learn from adults who cut down trees just because they are in the way.”
It is understood that a tree preservation order is being sought for tree – although this did not stop Eastleigh Borough Council from felling a mature sycamore (Sid) to make way for a multi -million pound extension to the Point.
Hedge End Town Council are next meeting on Wednesday 18 May. Campaigners are hoping to address the council on the issue.
Photograph © Andrew Dunn
See campaign page here


  22 comments for “Hedge End tree in poison hysteria

  1. Peter Stewart
    May 15, 2011 at 7:42 pm

    In 2008, motor cars killed or seriously injured 2,807 children.  In the same year, ZERO children were killed by eating Laburnum peas.
    ‘Poisonous Plants in Britain and their Effects on Animals and Man’ (MAFF) states there are no verifiable incidents of serious laburnum poisoning.
    Let us hope common sense prevails here and beauty survives.  Let the parents TEACH their children not to eat Laburnum peas.

  2. mm
    Eastleigh Xpress
    May 15, 2011 at 8:35 pm

    I expect you won't be surprised to learn that Cllr Bloom claims her brother was poisoned by a Laburnum tree and had to have his stomach pumped out. 😐

  3. Peter Stewart
    May 16, 2011 at 9:17 am

    Was Cllr Bloom’s brother POISONED by Laburnum or merely SUSPECTED of having been poisoned?

    I repeat MAFF does NOT have a single proven case of serious Laburnum poisoning on record, so why would a LibDem Councillor target a beautiful Laburnum tree?

    Could the answer lie in this modern mentality of risk avoidance? It is not uncommon these days, for Councillors to behave in ways which a generation ago would have been described as hysterical. The felling of so-called “dangerous” trees is a classic example.

    The LibDems should be careful not to acquire a reputation for cotton wool politics: Be safe – Vote LibDem – You know it makes sense!

    • Pre-School Parent
      May 20, 2011 at 8:44 pm

      It’s a shame that this hysteria has been generated by the WI for their own benefit. They don’t even meet in the Village Hall anymore and seem to be keener on scoring political points against the Lib Dems and trying to get members than the safety of the children!

      Kew Gardens state they are poisonous, OFSTED state that they are poisonous. Are the WI really saying that they want to wait until someone gets seriously ill or dies first?

      Yes, the risk of getting killed by a car is probably higher but that doesn’t mean they don’t have seat belts and dangerous cars aren’t taken off the road with the annual MOT. It’s all about dealing with the risk.

      You guarantee me that my child will not get ill, or worse and state that you will be willing to stand up in court to account for putting my child at risk if it all goes horribly wrong and we can have a sensible conversation about it. If not I would suggest that comments like ‘modern mentality’ and ‘a generation ago’ show that are out of touch with current attitudes and the parents of Hedge End Pre-School children.

      • May 20, 2011 at 10:58 pm

        This might come as a bit of a shock to you but no one in Hampshire has ever died from these pods. NOT ONE.!! Like thousands of people before me, we all grew up with these trees around us and learnt about the dangers of life the old fashioned way.

        Stop wrapping kids in cotton wall and let them be kids and leave the bloody trees alone. My god, we are bring up a nation of kids that will be scared to go into the back garden incase they burt by the sun, stung by a bee, trip on a garden worm, speak to the man next door, get frost bitten by the snow, get ill from the rain, discover that veg comes from the ground and that meat comes from animals. What a world.!!

        • another parent
          May 22, 2011 at 1:16 pm

          perhaps you need to tell the rhs that your more qualified than them. Plus have you actually spoken to the pre-school about this as by may of your comments to things seem quite wrong. As they are trying to promote a nature garden for the children rather than built up play grounds. As a campaigner yourself and hopefully a father you would think it was a great idea to promote. Plus did you and the wi campaign when our garden got built on as i understand one of them helped to set it up.

          • May 22, 2011 at 8:46 pm

            I will repeat the facts again. Defra – The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, does NOT have a single proven case of serious Laburnum poisoning on record ANYWHERE in the UK. I not making this stuff up, look for yourself on their website. Not a single person has died from this or any other tree of the same type in the UK either.

            Hedge End children are at more risk from the Space Shuttle landing on their school than they are of being killed by this tree. That’s a real statistic like it or not.!!

            Also OFSTED has NOT said the try needs to be cut done. I have the report in front of me. No mention of cutting down the tree what so ever, so whoever is spinning that line to the people of Hedge End is either lying or has been eating the Foxgloves that grow nearby or the Toadstools that also grow on the same bit of land.

            Christ, the whole place is a danger zone.!! I am shocked you would even let your children outdoors with all these risks to them, what sort of parents are you??

  4. Lin Martin
    May 22, 2011 at 7:41 pm

    Having read some of the comments re the Labernham tree I can say from personal experience that these trees and children do not mix.

    My twin daughters ingested Labernam seeds which had fallen from a neighbours tree (thinking they were pea pods, as I had recently taken them to pickwell farm picking peas). I was unaware that they had eaten these seeds until they became very ill and on questioning them realised what had occurred, in a panic I phoned a nursing friend who advised me to take the girls to the Hospital IMMEDIATLEY. Thankfully the girls did not die due to the emergency treatment given at the hospital, but they were extremely ill.

    These seeds are extremely poisonous and you do not have to ingest very many.

    I would not want any parent or child to suffer what we had to on that day.

    Thankfully my neighbour cut the tree down as she did not want to be responsible for seeing any other child hurt.

    Either move the tree or the childrens play area please do not have them both together, it is not worth the risk, and that is NOT molly coddlying children that is keeping them safe!

  5. mm
    Eastleigh Xpress
    May 22, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    I must admit, as an overprotective parent myself I don’t think I would have sent the kids to a pre -school that had a potentially poisonous tree growing in the playground – no matter how remote the possibility of fatality.
    But I would send the kids somewhere else – I wouldn’t start demanding the council start felling trees simply because I am a neurotic.

    • Newcomer
      May 24, 2011 at 5:27 pm

      thats the point they DO NOT have a play ground they are sharing the pre-schools next doors play area. they CAN NOT by law have a playground there when the tree is still there as the tree is deemed poisnous they cant use the area with the children in till it has been removed.

  6. Newcomer
    May 24, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    Copy and pasted from kew site

    As a member of the pea family, large green pods develop from the flowers each year, which when ripe, turn brown and split. However, from a human perspective this is problematic as the seeds, along with every other part of the tree, are poisonous.

    Fortunately, as well as taking the best flowering elements of both species, Whilst it would take 15-20 seeds to constitute a lethal dose, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea are commonplace even if only a few are ingested.

    surley the saftey of the children should be more importnant then a treee that could be moved or ‘remembered’ in some form of plaque or wood art that can be placed somewhere the W.I use.

    • May 24, 2011 at 8:50 pm

      What a great idea. rather than having all these trees everywhere, dropping leaves to promote fertile land and making billions of tons of Oxygen, lets just cut all the trees down and replace them with a bit of wood art or a plaque. Fantastic plan.!!

      • newcomer
        May 27, 2011 at 8:28 pm

        but if they are willing to re-plant a tree that not poisoness then they aren’t removing the tree just poisoness one surely somewhere down the line the people WI will speak to the pre-school and find out what they really are doing there. they ARE NOT removing all of the trees just the poisonous one it will remain a nature garden as the the children there do not want a concrete play ground like next doors preschool what they DO want is a nice safe place they can play somewhere they can play when ever want(not like at the moment where they are sharing with the pre-school next door which they only get an hour free flow, they all want grass and trees and flowers. does the saftey of these children and the children and animals that walk through this area which has a range of 20ft around the tree matter to the wi because i think it might to those who use the area with children and pets and i’m sure they will be happy if the tree is removed and replaced or what if means they can use the area with out having to worry?

        • The Black Balaclava
          May 27, 2011 at 11:04 pm

          Then use the one they already have.!! Yes people, they already have one play area. Now they want to kill a tree so they can have two play areas.

          Jane Welsh, who is behind this whole idea is a member of the HE Community Hall Committee who want to cut the tree down AND a member of the Town Council..

          Call me daft but this must be a conflict of interest given her outspoken views on wanting to cut the tree down.??

  7. member
    May 25, 2011 at 11:43 am

    Actually what a lovely idea or maybe replant a tree there as well that isn’t poisionous that is appoved by everyone including RHS.

    • May 26, 2011 at 1:29 pm

      Nice to see the Lib Dems in Hedge End joining the debate. Fear not, your tree hacking credentials are very well understood by all.

  8. newcomer
    May 27, 2011 at 8:31 pm

    i also want to ask the wi if the pre-school was there 46yrs ago would they are still planted a poisoness tree next to it?

  9. Hedge Ender 56
    May 27, 2011 at 8:46 pm

    Wasn’t Jill Burrows one of the ladies who started the preschool in the first place 40 odd years ago now if i remember rightly? Surely she must respect what they are trying to do for the children and that the preschool she started is still there and still full of children unlike some of the ones that have been and gone in those 40 years? Yes it is a Poisoness tree at the end of the day a tree surgeon will look at it and comfirm it is poisoness even if it has not poisioned anyone in its 46 years. If there is a tpo on these tree then the council will look at that and not that the pre-school want to use the area. Are you not fighting a losing battle that could result in the tree being removed and not ‘remembered’ or replaced then its history will remain only in books. What happened to the WI helping their local comunity like the used to these are your future and your enemies.

    From one worried member of Hedge End for 56 years

  10. May 27, 2011 at 11:00 pm

    I wish Jane Welsh would use her real name rather than keep posting using silly names in the hope that no one knows its her…

    Fear not, this tree WILL NOT be lost, we have far to much real council and public support. The TPO will stop it being hacked down and we now have an assurance that the Tree Officer for the area will never give permission for the tree to be cut down.

    So its game over for the very small, PRO tree killing NIMBYS from Hedge End.!!

    Dont you just love people power.!!!


    • mm
      Eastleigh Xpress
      May 27, 2011 at 11:18 pm


  11. newcomer
    June 12, 2011 at 8:54 pm

    Then use the one they already have.!! Yes people, they already have one play area. Now they want to kill a tree so they can have two play areas.

    Jane Welsh, who is behind this whole idea is a member of the HE Community Hall Committee who want to cut the tree down AND a member of the Town Council..

    Call me daft but this must be a conflict of interest given her outspoken views on wanting to cut the tree down.??


  12. June 13, 2011 at 2:10 am


    No they dont, what they have is one they share with another Pre-School at the same location. O what hardship they suffer.!! They dont have their own KFC, McDonalds, Firestation or Airfield either. Do we give in each time they stamp their feet in temper. What message are you sending to these children. LEAVE THE BLOODY TREE ALONE AND TEACH THE CHILDREN TO BLOODY SHARE.!!!

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