Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tuesday's Trees- Redbud

Don't you just love this great show of blossom?  Redbud, Cercis canadensis is a native tree.  There are some new cultivars out there that are quite stunning.  This beauty is C. chinensis 'Don Egolf'.  The native tree is not quite as densely budded with blooms.  The color is quite similar.

There not only pink Redbuds, but in the Learning Garden in Virginia there was a white one.  Believe this variety is Cercis reniformis Oklahoma 'Texas White'.  This is a native to the Texas-Oklahoma area.  It also goes by Cercis canadensis var. texensis 'Texas White'. 

 The buds form along the branch stems, making this tree a pink cloud of blooms in the spring, flowering before leaves emerge.    A great  tree that pairs well with dogwood. 
As you can tell by the bloom, the Cercis is a member of the Pea family, Fabaceae.  The C. canadensis is commonly called 'Eastern Redbud'.  The native distribution is quite wide.  From the east coast to as far west as New Mexico and all along the southern States to Ontario, Canada.  Quite a hardy one!  It is hardy zones 4-9.  It prefers moist soil but is drought tolerant though is seldom found in coarse sandy soil.
The form is dense, the branches zig-zag in a horizontal pattern.  It can be flat topped or have a rounded crown.  This is a medium size tree, 20 -30 feet tall and slightly wider.  While it is a shade tolerant tree, according to the Silvics manual by the Federal Forestry Service, as it matures it becomes less so.  As a matter of fact, the more mature trees can suffer from heart rot and cannot handle the competition of other trees. 

The thin papery leaves are heart shaped, alternate,and turn yellow in the fall. 

 This tree was in severe decline and was cut down shortly after I took this picute.  Redbud have many insects that feed on their leaves as well as borers that wiill inhabit portions of the wood.  There are three diseases that found in Redbud; leaf anthracnose, Botryosphaeria canker and Verticillium wilt.  Not sure what took this tree, but I sure am glad I got this photo. 
These next two photos (and the leaf photo above) are a Cercis canadensis 'Forest Pansy'.  The leaves are burgundy green.  If the tree is in enough sunlight, the redder the leaves.   These were taken at the JMU Arboretum.  It is a lovely setting. 
 The 'Forest Pansy' is nestled in between two Japanese Maples, both red.  To the right of them is a Magnolia Macrophylla, Big leaf Magnolia.  They sit beautifully at the edge of a pond. 

The tree is self-pollinating and the seedpods hang from the tree through the winter.  As the pods finally release the seeds they are eaten by birds and small animals.  Many seeds lay dormant for several years.  To germinate the seeds need both scarification and stratification.   Driving by this tree this fall I first thought these were leaves left on a tree.  We weren't here in the spring, so I had no idea it was a Redbud until I looked more closely.   Previous winter chilling enhances spring bloom, I imagine we will have a grand show again this spring. 

The bark of the tree is smooth and gray/brown.  As the tree matures it becomes ridged and scaly.  This is the stem/trunk of  one of the Redbud I planted last month.  Hoping to have some nice buds come springtime, though I may have to rethink where I planted them.....perhaps they could use more sunlight?

My additional references ---VTech Dendrology, NCState,  Lady Bird Wildflower Database, and of course Missouri Botanical Garden.
Next week's tree-----Tulip Poplar

words and photos by Janet,The Queen of Seaford.


  1. Hi Janet. I love to see Redbud trees blooming in the spring. There are many growing native in and around the forests here.Many along the roadways which make a beautiful show in spring.I did not know about the white one. It is lovely also.

  2. I do love our redbud tree. It seems happy with its location in our garden, lucky us.

  3. Hi Janet,

    Such a terrific lavender color on those blooms! I love the way the blossoms grow up and down the branches. It is surely a tree that I would grow if I lived in a warmer climate. I think Lilac is as close as I am going to get to purple blossoms int the spring.

    Love the photo of the lake. It looks so serene and peaceful.

    I have been reading Hyperbole with my daughter as well. Funny stuff!

  4. This may be my favorite tree... even more so now that I know it blooms the same time that morel mushrooms pop out of the ground. My daughter likes to eat redbud flowers (I've eaten them too, on salads). She'll take a twig and munch off the blooms like its a corn cob!

  5. I just love these trees and most disheartened there wasn't one on my property when we moved in in August. There are now. I think that even though they are fairly short lived it is a worthwhile tree for any landscape. I can't wait until mine get big!

  6. Oh I LOVE this tree Janet. Every spring I vow to find a spot to plant one in my yard and every spring, I can't figure out where. I think I need a bigger garden! I definitely prefer the traditional pink color instead of the white variety tho.
    Are you digging out today?? I hope you didn't lose power.

  7. I miss the old redbuds in our neighborhoos in Des Moines, IA. I don't see many around Spokane. People keep telling me they don't do well here for some reason, though there is probably at least one cultivar that would be OK. Lovely pictures.

  8. Janet,
    Never seen a white redbud before! These trees are all around us here. Glad you have some too, butterflies like them too. Recently noticed a Pine Warbler eating the seeds right off the tree.

  9. I love Redbuds. We have a couple of big old redbuds on our property and I got some from the National Arbor Day Foundation, one of which has gotten quite big. The flower color of the E. Redbud is so beautiful and unique.

  10. I'm so glad you've gone back to posting Tuesday's Trees! The Redbud is such a pretty tree, I've always liked it. Ive never grown it though, and now that I'm living in the PNW I probably won't be able to, I've heard it doesn't like our wet weather.

    Thanks for the nice comment on my Picture This post! I hope more people enter, I'm looking forward to seeing what others come up with. I think the deadline is Jan. 24.

  11. Good heavens, 'Don Egolf' looks extraordinary! Slightly burlesque so smothered in all that candy pink blossom. I grow 'Forest Pansy' but cut it back hard each Spring to get larger leaves - and because otherwise it would outgrow its welcome. One of my favourite plants in the garden, I hope one day to have one in enough space to really show off how graceful it is.

  12. It is a very beautiful tree. I really like the shape of the leafs and the many colors it changes all year round. the blooming is so special.

  13. This is my favorite spring tree, Janet! I remember the first spring after we moved here. I looked up one morning to see these lavender blooms and was so excited; I didn't realize we had two redbuds on the property. To me, they are the harbingers of spring. I'd love to add a 'Forest Pansy,' though--the fall color is beautiful.

  14. Lona- I love finding the Redbud blooming in the wild. Springtime treats!

    K & V- Good for you!!

    Rosey- The color of the bloom is just wonderful! Glad you like the lake picture...it is quite serene. (yes, it is funny stuff!)

    Eliza- I didn't know this about the mushrooms. I know the seed pods are edible -- though I think they are a bit bitter.

    Tina- Glad you planted some in your yard. They will be big before you know it.

    Kathleen- I love it too. One of the Twisted Covey varieties is a bit smaller....perhaps that would work in your yard??
    I was out shoveling and clearing off ice! We did not lose power, thankfully.

    VW- Sorry there aren't any in your area. I think I would look into other cultivars.

    Randy- The White one is really nice. I imagine the butterflies like the blooms.

    Sweetbay- Redbuds are just a mainstay in my mind. National Arbor Day Foundation is a good place to get some.

    Alison- I am glad you are enjoying the tree postings. Good luck on your post.

    Janet- Don Egolf is extraordinary! I am sorry that you have to cut the Forest Pansy so frequently.

    fer- I love the heart-shaped leaves.

    Rose- It is one of my favorites too. It is fun to find that you have something in your garden that you weren't expecting.
    The fall color of the Forest Pansy is quite spectacular. The yellow foliaged tree picture is a species tree-- not a Forest Pansy. FP has all sorts of burgundy purple red colors in the fall.

  15. red bud is one of my favorite trees. i am partial to edible flowers anyway, and the heart- shaped leaves are so pretty. love that scene with the bigleaf magnolia. i cant wait to plant one of those!

  16. Daricia- you should plant one! they are super! what a pretty salad you could have with the blossoms.

  17. Trees are one area (of many!) where I need much education and study, so thank you for these posts on them! I love redbuds and am so happy to be living in an area where I can grow one!


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