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Cercis canadensis

Family: Fabaceae

Leaf Type: Deciduous

Mature Height: ~10 m (~33 ft)

Fall Color: Golden yellow

Native Range: Redbuds are found throughout much of the Midwest and Southeast, even down into Mexico.



Redbuds are easily identified by their distinctive, large heart-shaped leaves. They are dark green on top with a slightly lighter underleaf. Redbuds can also be easily recognized by their flowers that bloom in early spring, providing an explosion of pinkish-purple flowers, a stark contrast to dark bark and the backdrop of green foliage. The flowers are small, pink, and pea-like and flower in small bunches along the branches and, sometimes, even the trunk. Like all members of the legume family, the fruit of the redbud is a pod. These seed pods turn a dark reddish-brown when they mature and dry out before dropping to disperse, or spread, seeds. We recommend not sampling the fruits & nuts of the trees and plants here at Adventure Science Center. In young trees, the bark of redbuds is gray with some orange grooves. Older trees develop bark with small scales that may be a red-brown color.


Fun Facts

● This plant has an interesting nomenclature! From the Latin name, Cercis is from the Greek kerkis, which means “a weaver's shuttle” and refers to the shape of the fruit; canadensis means “of Canada.” The common name, “Eastern redbud,” is named for where it grows, in eastern North America, and the beautiful, reddish-purple flower buds.
● The flowers were a source of food for Native Americans.
● The redbud is the state tree of Oklahoma.

“If Trees Could Sing” is a project of The Nature Conservancy that highlights several recording artists and demonstrates the importance of trees. Check out what Rodney Atkins has to say about redbuds. 
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