Floridata Plant Encyclopedia

A Floridata Plant Profile 27 Cercis canadensis

Common Names: eastern redbud, Judas tree, redbud Family: Fabaceae (bean Family)
Image Gallery

eastern redbud tree
Eastern redbud growing in the wild typically has multiple trunks and often forms small clumps.
redbud tree
Selected redbud varieties planted in the landscape bloom more heavily than their wild relatives.

Description

Eastern redbud is a small to medium sized tree, occasionally reaching 40 ft (12 m) in height, but usually staying around 20 ft (6 m) tall. It sometimes has multiple trunks and its branches form a spreading, flattened or rounded crown up to 30 ft (9 m) across, but usually less. The leaves are simple and heart shaped, appearing after the magenta flowers bloom in early spring. Those flowers are borne in clusters all along the naked branches and make the whole tree look pinkish-purple. Redbud is a member of the bean and pea family, and you would certainly know that from the fruits. They are typical-looking pods, rather flattened, about 2-4 in (5-10 cm) long and a half inch wide, and they hang in little clusters right off the branches. The pods may be hard to see amongst the attractive pale green foliage of summer, but they often persist into winter after the leaves have fallen.

Several selections have been named and these are generally preferred over the wild form. 'Alba' has white flowers. 'Covey' has a weeping habit and an umbrella-shaped crown. 'Forest Pansy' has reddish-purple leaves. 'Silver Cloud' has white variegated foliage and does well in shade.

redbud flowers
The eastern redbud has flowers that are typical of those of the Leguminosae/Fabaceae (bean and pea) Family.
redbud leaves
Some cultivars of the redbud have beautifully colored foliage throughout the season. 'Heart of Gold' redbud has bright yellow leaves that are as bright as any flower!

Location

Eastern redbud, Cercis canadensis, is found in fertile, moist sites along streams and in moist woodlands from southern Ontario, west to Nebraska, and south to Texas and North Florida. It is part of the subcanopy in mixed hardwood forests.

Culture

Eastern redbud does well in most soils, acidic to alkaline, so long as they do not stay soggy. This is a fast-growing little tree that requires little care. Light: Eastern redbud does well in full sun to light shade. Plant redbuds in the shade of larger deciduous trees; they seem to do best when they get plenty of sun in the late winter as they are getting ready to bloom, but then they appreciate a little shade during the heat of summer. Moisture: Redbud likes a moist soil but established specimens are quite drought tolerant. Hardiness: USDA Zones 4 - 9. Plants from northern parts of the range are more cold hardy than those from farther south. Propagation: Start redbud from seeds in autumn and overwinter outdoors. Named cultivars are usually grafted onto seedlings or started from semi-ripe tip cuttings in spring or summer.

Usage

Eastern redbud is often used as a street tree planted 25-35 ft (7.6-10.7 m) apart. They also make good framing trees for small homes. Redbud is great for providing shade for patios and for a spring accent tree. The flowers are one of the first signs of spring, opening about the time of the dogwoods and azaleas.

redbud leaves
The popular 'Forest Pansy' redbud sports bright bronze young leaves that changes to a darker burgundy or purple shades as they mature.
redbud
Bright redbuds against a blue sky is one of a most colorful first-sign-of-spring.

Features

Magenta blossoms borne close to the twigs are a harbinger of spring. This tree is commonly used as an ornamental along with flowering dogwoods. According to legend, an Old World relative of redbud was used by Judas Iscariot to hang himself. As a member of the pea or legume family, redbud has the ability to fix nitrogen from the air to use as a nutrient. See Floridata's garden pea (Pisum sativum) profile for a description of how that works.

Jack Scheper 2/1/96, updated sc 10/05/00, 3/3/01, 6/7/03, 12/5/03, 10/23/04, 6/4/11, 4/10/12



Master Plant List

Click here to find plants in our Encyclopedia using the Master Plant List grid. Use this widget to search, sort and filter Floridata's plant database to easily locate Plant Profile pages. Use the dropdown menus to filter the grid to display items matching the selected Plant Type and Feature tags.

Plant Type Tags

tree icon
shrub icon
palm
perennial plant icon
aquatic plant icon
cactus and succulents icon
grass icon
vine icon

Feature Tags

Attracts Birds
Attracts butterflies
Attracts Hummingbirds
Edible Plants
Cutting and Arranging
medicinal
for pots and containers
indoors
shade
drought tolerant plants
grows in wet soils
flowers
ornamental fruits
fall color
foliage plants
evergreen
easy to grow plants
fast growing

Site Search

Use Google to search all of the pages on Floridata including the Plant Profile pages




Cercis species profiled on Floridata:


Cercis canadensis

( eastern redbud, Judas tree, redbud )

Cercis chinensis

( Chinese redbud )

Copyright 2015 Floridata.com LLC