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Redbud

 
Redbud

Page Type: Album

Object Title: Redbud

Image Type(s): Flora

 

Page By: tarol

Created/Edited: Jan 23, 2007 / Jan 23, 2007

Object ID: 263720

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Redbud

The California or Western Redbuds (Cercis occidentalis) are small trees or large shrubs with a rounded crown of many spreading branches. Around March and April they bloom near where I live with a showy magenta pea-like flower. These harbingers of spring are so beautiful and dramatic when mixed in with the various greens of the oaks and chaparral.

Cercis is from kerkis, the ancient Greek name for the redbud. Occidentalis means of the west and these trees indeed grow in the western United States in California, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona. They are common in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada and in the Coast Range as well. They grow on dry slopes often near a small spring or creek.

Redbuds typically grow to about 16 feet high and have multiple trunks. These trees are in the pea family (Fabaceae) and their fruit is indeed like a pea pod. Their leaves, which emerge in the spring after the flowers do, are heart-shaped and are reddish when they first bud then later turn blue green. In the fall the leaves turn a brilliant yellow and later fall to the ground. In the winter they are still beautiful trees, although stark without their leaves, and you can often you can see the brown seedpods still dangling from the bare branches.

Redbuds typically grow to about 16 feet high and have multiple trunks. These trees are in the pea family (Fabaceae) and their fruit is indeed like a pea pod. Their leaves, which emerge in the spring after the flowers do, are heart-shaped and are reddish when they first bud then later turn blue green. In the fall the leaves turn a brilliant yellow and later fall to the ground. In the winter they are still beautiful trees, although stark without their leaves, and you can often you can see the brown seedpods still dangling from the bare branches.

Deer browse on redbud foliage and early settlers ate the blossoms in their salads. The bark was sometimes used to treat common maladies and sometimes even leukemia. And many Native Americans chose the wood of the redbud for their bows. But perhaps the springtime beauty of this tree may be its greatest contribution to the human spirit.

Feel free to attach your favorite photos of redbud trees, flowers, and foliage here :)

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