The common calpurnia or wild laburnum, in Afrikaans called the geelkeur, is a small tree (SA Tree No. 219) or bushy shrub occurring on the South African east coast. It also grows in Mpumalanga and Limpopo and from Zimbabwe across much of Sub-Sahara Africa. The habitat is the margins of evergreen forests and along watercourses.
The leaves of Calpurnia aurea subsp. aurea are imparipinnate, i.e. the leaves are composite with a terminal leaflet. The yellow pea flowers, typical of the Fabaceae family, grow in abundant terminal sprays in summer and to a lesser extent all the year round. The fruits are thin, pale brown pods, the seeds attached to a narrow rim along the margin.
C. aurea subsp. aurea is the only subspecies growing naturally in southern Africa; subsp. indica is found in India (Coates Palgrave, 2002).