History/general species info: Indigenous peoples valued the red seeds, which formed a near lacquer form, and they used these seeds for ceremonies and ornament use. In addition, these seeds were known to be very poisonous and acted as a hallucinogen or narcotic at times, and in some instances, it had ceremonial relations with nicotine.
Characteristics: Evergreen. Slow growing. Small, shiny, leather-like leaves 7-13 leaflets that are two inches long. Purple wisteria- like flowers bloom in early spring and give off a strong fragrance similar to the smell of grapes Kool-aid. May be grown as a medium to large shrub or trained to a single or multi-trunk tree. The fruit is a semi-woody pod with bright red poisonous seeds. Warning - The brilliant red seeds contain the highly poisonous alkaloid cytisine (or sophorine).
Flower: Blue or purple, blooming in early spring. Very fragrant.
Planting / Care: Low to medium water. Sun to part shade. Highly heat, drought and cold tolerant. Requires good drainage and grows in well-drained sandy, sandy loam, clay loam, clay soils. Requires little, if any irrigation once established. Deer resistant.
Size and Spacing: Generally grows to 10-15 ft high
Wildlife: Attracts hummingbirds, butterflies and insect pollinators