No equal, no competitor, can be found among small flowering landscape trees—the stage is reserved for this native species. ~ Michael A. Dirr, Dirr’s Hardy Trees and Shrubs
Dirr took the words right out of my mouth. For romantic, evocative and other deep-seated reasons and even though I haven’t been able to successfully grow one for almost 40 years, the redbud remains a favorite plant.
Some redbud facts. • Eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis) is native to the eastern U.S.—ranging from New Jersey south to northern Florida and west to Missouri and Texas.
• Member of the Fabaceae or Leguminosae Family, a very large important family of flowering plants that includes soybeans, garden peas, peanuts, alfalfa, honeylocusts, Kentucky coffeetrees. Most legume species have the cool capability of nitrogen fixation—a symbiotic process between bacteria within their root nodules and the soil that produces nitrogen and, therefore, the plants’ own source of fertilization.
• Leaves are alternate and generally heart-shaped, about 3 – 5” high and wide. Foliage emerges reddish-purple in spring, gradually turns green and can be a nice, bright yellow in fall.
• Flowers are tiny (½ inch), perfect with male (stamens) and female (pistils) parts in same flower. The buds are reddish-purple and open to a warm, rosy pink.
• Fruits are a persistent, dark brown pod 2 – 3” long.
• Mature size is 20 – 30’ high and 25 – 35’ wide.
• Hardiness Zone 4 – 9, although the Minnesota Strain is hardy to Zone 3b.
• According to Douglas Tallamy’s study at the University of Delaware, 19 species of butterflies and moths are supported by redbuds.
On the redbud outside my bedroom window, the buds are swelling and there is a definite purple haze to the tree.