Overview

Brief Summary

Leguminosae -- Legume family

    James G. Dickson

    Eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis) is a small, short-lived  deciduous tree found throughout the eastern United States. Redbud  is also known as Judas-tree. According to legend, Judas Iscariot  hanged himself from a branch of the European species Cercis  siliquastrum (13). Eastern redbud is a strikingly conspicuous  tree in the spring because it flowers before other tree leaves  form. The wood is heavy, hard, and close-grained, but because of  the small size and irregular shape of the tree it is of no  commercial value as a source of lumber. This tree is most valued  as an ornamental and is extensively planted.

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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James G. Dickson

Source: Silvics of North America

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Comprehensive Description

Description

General: Legume Family (Fabaceae). Eastern redbud is a native, perennial, deciduous tree or shrub. The plants may vary in form from dense and round (to 6 m tall) when grown in sun, to an open, taller form (to 12 m tall) when grown in the shade. The trees produce hundreds of small pink pea flowers in the very early spring, even before other trees have leafed out. The bright magenta-pink to lilac flowers, appear in small clusters, primarily on older stems. The flowers are irregular, 9 to 12 cm long, with ten stamens. The unique, broadly heart-shaped leaves are nearly circular (5 to 10 cm), with a long, slender petiole. The leaves are alternate and have 5 to 9 prominent veins that radiate palmately from the base. New leaves are a light green that darken with age and finally turn yellow in the fall. The seeds are contained in a flat, thin pod (4 to 10 cm long), which turns from green to brown.

Distribution: Eastern redbud is native to the eastern and south-central United States, southward to Texas. For current distribution, please consult the Plant Profile page for this species on the PLANTS Web site.

Habitat: Eastern redbud occurs in the forest understory in moist rich woods, along the banks of streams, in ravines, on bluffs, in open rocky woods, and abandoned farmlands.

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USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Comments

Redbud is easily recognized by its bright pink flowers and broad cordate leaves. As a spring-flowering shrub or small tree, it remains attractive longer (about a month) than other woody species that typically bloom at about the same time of year. This is one reason for its popularity among landscapers and members of the public. There are other species in this interesting genus, but they are not found in Illinois. Some Robinia spp. (Locusts) also produce pea-like flowers in the spring, but their leaves are pinnately compound.
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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Description

This native woody plant is a shrub or small tree about 15-30' tall, forming a short trunk that is often crooked and a crown that is widely spreading and irregular. Trunk bark is gray and rough with flattened irregular scales and shallow furrows; the bark of branches is gray and more smooth. Twigs are brown, glabrous, and smooth; they are covered with small white lenticels. Young shoots are olive green and glabrous; they have a tendency to zigzag between the leaves. Alternate leaves develop along the shoots; their blades are 2½-5" long and about the same across. Individual leaf blades are oval-cordate or orbicular-cordate and smooth along their margins. Upper blade surfaces are medium green and glabrous, while their lower surfaces are pale green and either glabrous or slightly pubescent along the major veins and their axils. The slender petioles are 1½-4" long, light green, and glabrous (or nearly so). Umbellate clusters of flowers and their buds develop along older branches before the leaves unfold. They are initially sessile during the bud stage, but individual flowers develop slender pedicels about 1" long when they bloom. The flowers are bright rosy pink while they are still in the bud stage, becoming pink to light pink as they bloom and age. As a result, Redbud remains attractive for about a month during the middle of spring. Individual flowers are about ½" long, consisting of a short tubular calyx, 5 petals, 10 stamens, and a pistil with a single style. Individual flowers have a pea-like floral structure, consisting of a central upper petal (the banner), 2 upper lateral petals (the wings), and 2 lower petals that form a projecting keel. The upper lateral petals are slightly larger than the central upper petal. The lower petals enclose the reproductive organs of the flowers. The irregular calyx has 5 blunt teeth; it is more purplish than the petals. During the summer, fertile flowers become transformed into flattened brown seedpods about 2-4" long and ½" tall. These seedpods persist on the tree or shrub through the fall and sometimes into the winter, eventually splitting apart to release their seeds. Individual seeds are a little less than ¼" long, somewhat flattened, and reniform (kidney-shaped). The woody root system produces a taproot and spreading lateral roots. Redbud reproduces by reseeding itself. Cultivation
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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Alternative names

Redbud, Judas tree; this species has several varieties recognized in the U.S.: Cercis canadensis var. canadensis, Cercis canadensis var mexicana, and Cercis canadensis var. texensis.

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USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Distribution

Range and Habitat in Illinois

Redbud is common in southern and central Illinois, becoming uncommon or absent in the northern section of the state (see Distribution Map). Habitats include mesic deciduous woodlands, mixed rocky woodlands (deciduous & coniferous), wooded river valleys and riverbanks (above the flood stage), wooded slopes and slopes of ravines, savannas and thickets, limestone glades, and fence rows. To some extent, wildfires and other kinds of disturbance are beneficial to the maintenance of this species as this reduces excessive shade from canopy trees. Redbud is often cultivated in yards because of its attractive appearance.
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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Absent

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

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More info for the term: natural

The range of eastern redbud extends from New Jersey and Pennsylvania
west to southern Michigan and southeastern Nebraska; south to eastern
Texas; and east to central Florida [34]. Its natural range appears to
exclude the Gulf and Atlantic Coastal Plains [16]. It is extinct from
one locality in extreme southern Ontario [34].

Texas redbud occurs from southern Oklahoma south to eastern, southern,
and Trans-Pecos Texas; extreme southeastern New Mexico; and northern
Mexico. In Mexico, its range extends from eastern Chihuahua and Coahila
east to Tamps and south to San Luis Potosi and Hidalgo [34].
  • 16. Collingwood, G. H.; Brush, Warren D.; [revised and edited by Butcher, Devereux]
  • 34. Little, Elbert L., Jr. 1979. Checklist of United States trees (native and naturalized). Agric. Handb. 541. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 375 p. [2952]

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Regional Distribution in the Western United States

More info on this topic.

This species can be found in the following regions of the western United States (according to the Bureau of Land Management classification of Physiographic Regions of the western United States):

13 Rocky Mountain Piedmont
14 Great Plains

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Occurrence in North America

AL AR DE FL GA IL IN KS KY LA
MI MS MO NE NC NJ OH OK PA SC
TN TX VA WV MEXICO

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The range of eastern redbud is from New Jersey and southern  Pennsylvania northwest to southern Michigan, southwest into  southeastern Nebraska, south to central Texas, and east to  central Florida (8). A disjunct population of redbud extends from  the Trans-Pecos and south Texas into Mexico.

   
  -The native rane of eastern redbub.


  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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James G. Dickson

Source: Silvics of North America

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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

More info for the terms: shrub, tree

Eastern redbud is a native, deciduous, small tree or shrub. Mature
height ranges from 25 to 50 feet (7.6-15.2 m); the smaller figure is
probably closer to average [15,16]. The crown is flat to rounded [53].
The trunk us usually straight, branching about 5 to 9 feet (1.5-2 m)
above the ground [56]. The 0.5-inch- (1.2-cm) thick bark becomes scaly
on older stems [11,16]. The root system of eastern redbud is long and
coarse with a relatively small number of fine feeder roots near the
surface [29]. The fruit is a flat, thin-walled legume (pod) 1.5 to 3.9
inches (4-10 cm) long and 0.32 to 0.72 inches (8-18 mm) broad, with
several hard, shiny seeds [11].

The national champion (1976) eastern redbud from Springfield, Missouri,
measured 47 feet tall (14.3 m), 8.17 inches (20.75 cm) in circumference,
and had a crown spread 36 feet (10.9 m) in diameter [23].

Unlike most other members of the Fabaceae, eastern redbud does not form
root nodules and does not appear to fix nitrogen [37].
  • 11. Brown, Russell G.; Brown, Melvin L. 1972. Woody plants of Maryland. Baltimore, MD: Port City Press. 347 p. [21844]
  • 15. Collier, Clifford W., Jr.; Longenecker, George W. 1972. Cultivation of eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis). Misc. Pub. 434. Morgantown, WV: West Virginia University, Cooperative Extension Service. 2 p. [22837]
  • 16. Collingwood, G. H.; Brush, Warren D.; [revised and edited by Butcher, Devereux]
  • 23. Godfrey, Robert K. 1988. Trees, shrubs, and woody vines of northern Florida and adjacent Georgia and Alabama. Athens, GA: The University of Georgia Press. 734 p. [10239]
  • 29. Johnson, E. W. 1963. Ornamental shrubs for the Southern Great Plains. Farmer's Bull. 2025. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture. 62 p. [12064]
  • 37. McNiel, Robert E.; Carpenter, Philip L. 1974. Nitrogen fixation by woody plant species as measured by the acetylene reduction assay. Hortscience. 9(4): 381-382. [13491]
  • 53. Stubbendiek, James; Conard, Elverne C. 1989. Common legumes of the Great Plains: an illustrated guide. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press. 330 p. [11049]
  • 56. Vines, Robert A. 1960. Trees, shrubs, and woody vines of the Southwest. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press. 1104 p. [7707]

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Physical Description

Perennial, Trees, Woody throughout, Stems erect or ascending, Stems greater than 2 m tall, Stems solid, Stems or young twigs glabrous or sparsely glabrate, Leaves absent at flowering time, Leaves alternate, Leaves petiolate, Stipules deciduous, Stipules free, Leaves simple, or appearing so, Leaf or leaflet margins entire, Leaflets 1, Leaves glabrous or nearly so, Flowers in axillary clusters or few-floweredracemes, 2-6 flowers, Inflorescence umbel-like or subumbellate, Inflorescence cauliferous, Inflorescence axillary, Flowers zygomorphic, Calyx 5-lobed, Calyx glabrous, Petals separate, Corolla papilionaceous, Petals clawed, Petals pinkish to rose, Banner petal ovoid or obovate, Wing petals narrow, oblanceolate to oblong, Wing tips obtuse o r rounded, Keel tips obtuse or rounded, not beaked, Stamens 9-10, Stamens completely free, separate, Filaments hairy, villous, Style terete, Fruit a legume, Fruit stipitate, Fruit unilocular, Fruit freely dehiscent, Fruit tardily or weakly dehiscent, Fruit elongate, straight, Fruits winged, carinate, or samaroid, Fruit or valves persistent on stem, Fruit exserted from calyx, Fruit glabrous or glabrate, Fruit 3-10 seeded, Seeds ovoid to rounded in outline, Seed surface smooth, Seeds olive, brown, or black.
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Dr. David Bogler

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Ecology

Habitat

Range and Habitat in Illinois

Redbud is common in southern and central Illinois, becoming uncommon or absent in the northern section of the state (see Distribution Map). Habitats include mesic deciduous woodlands, mixed rocky woodlands (deciduous & coniferous), wooded river valleys and riverbanks (above the flood stage), wooded slopes and slopes of ravines, savannas and thickets, limestone glades, and fence rows. To some extent, wildfires and other kinds of disturbance are beneficial to the maintenance of this species as this reduces excessive shade from canopy trees. Redbud is often cultivated in yards because of its attractive appearance.
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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Habitat and Ecology

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

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Habitat characteristics

Eastern redbud grows on almost any site that is not excessively wet,
excessively dry, or strongly acidic [11,14,18]. Within its natural
range, eastern redbud exhibits a strong preference for, and can be used
as an indicator of, alkaline soils. Eastern redbud occurs in eastern
redcedar communities on calcareous soils [12]. In Virginia, eastern
redbud tends to occur on alkaline soils high in calcium and magnesium
[20]. Collier and Longenecker [15] recommend a soil pH range of 6.0 to
8.0. Best growth of eastern redbud occurs on rich, moist soils, usually
in partial shade [11]. It is usually not considered drought tolerant
[18]; however, its ability to tolerate dry conditions is decreased in
full full sun [14]. Probst [42] reported that eastern redbud is less
common in oak forests on poor sites than in oak forests on good sites
(defined by oak site indices). The upper elevational limit of eastern
redbud is about 2,200 feet (670 m) in the southeastern portion of its
range [18]. In Trans-Pecos Texas, eastern redbud ranges from 2,300 to
5,000 feet (701-1524 m) in elevation [41].

In Trans-Pecos Texas, Mexican redbud occurs in brushy arroyos, canyons,
and limestone hillsides [41]. In the Konza Prairie of Kansas, eastern
redbud occurs on rocky breaks in the grassland [45].
  • 11. Brown, Russell G.; Brown, Melvin L. 1972. Woody plants of Maryland. Baltimore, MD: Port City Press. 347 p. [21844]
  • 12. Bryant, William S. 1989. Redcedar (Juniperus virginiana L.) communities in the Kentucky River Gorge area of the bluegrass region of Kentucky. In: Rink, George; Budelsky, Carl A., eds. Proceedings, 7th central hardwood conference; 1989 March 5-8; Carbondale, IL. Gen. Tech. Rep. NC-132. St. Paul, MN: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, North Central Forest Experiment Station: 254-261. [9387]
  • 14. Clark, Ross; Bachtell, Kris R. 1992. Eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis L.). Morton Arboretum Quarterly. 28(1): 6-10. [22836]
  • 15. Collier, Clifford W., Jr.; Longenecker, George W. 1972. Cultivation of eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis). Misc. Pub. 434. Morgantown, WV: West Virginia University, Cooperative Extension Service. 2 p. [22837]
  • 18. Duncan, Wilbur H.; Duncan, Marion B. 1988. Trees of the southeastern United States. Athens, GA: The University of Georgia Press. 322 p. [12764]
  • 20. Farrell, John D.; Ware, Stewart. 1991. Edaphic factors and forest vegetation in the piedmont of Virgina. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club. 118(2): 161-169. [15694]
  • 41. Powell, A. Michael. 1988. Trees & shrubs of Trans-Pecos Texas including Big Bend and Guadalupe Mountains National Parks. Big Bend National Park, TX: Big Bend Natural History Association. 536 p. [6130]
  • 42. Probst, John R. 1979. Oak forest bird communities. In: DeGraaf, Richard M.; Evans, Keith E., compilers. Management of north central and northeastern forests for nongame birds: Proceedings of the workshop; 1979 January 23-25; Minneapolis, MN. Gen. Tech. Rep. NC-51. St. Paul, MN: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, North Central Forest Experiment Station: 80-88. [18080]
  • 45. Reichman, O. J. 1987. Grasslands. In: Konza Prairie: A tallgrass natural history. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas: 58-114. [4166]

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Key Plant Community Associations

More info for the term: tree

Eastern redbud occurs in the open or as an understory tree common along
the edge of woods in a variety of habitats [11,53]. In Kentucky, it
occurs on exposed limestone cliffs in eastern redcedar (Juniperus
virginiana) communities [12].

It very commonly occurs with flowering dogwood (Cornus florida) [54].
  • 11. Brown, Russell G.; Brown, Melvin L. 1972. Woody plants of Maryland. Baltimore, MD: Port City Press. 347 p. [21844]
  • 12. Bryant, William S. 1989. Redcedar (Juniperus virginiana L.) communities in the Kentucky River Gorge area of the bluegrass region of Kentucky. In: Rink, George; Budelsky, Carl A., eds. Proceedings, 7th central hardwood conference; 1989 March 5-8; Carbondale, IL. Gen. Tech. Rep. NC-132. St. Paul, MN: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, North Central Forest Experiment Station: 254-261. [9387]
  • 53. Stubbendiek, James; Conard, Elverne C. 1989. Common legumes of the Great Plains: an illustrated guide. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press. 330 p. [11049]
  • 54. Terborgh, John. 1985. The vertical component of plant species diversity in temperate and tropical forests. American Naturalist. 126(6): 760-776. [14093]

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Habitat: Plant Associations

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This species is known to occur in association with the following plant community types (as classified by Küchler 1964):

K082 Mosaic of K074 and K100
K084 Cross Timbers
K089 Black Belt
K099 Maple - basswood forest
K100 Oak - hickory forest
K101 Elm - ash forest
K102 Beech - maple forest
K103 Mixed mesophytic forest
K104 Appalachian oak forest
K106 Northern hardwoods
K110 Northeastern oak - pine forest
K111 Oak - hickory - pine forest
K112 Southern mixed forest

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Habitat: Ecosystem

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This species is known to occur in the following ecosystem types (as named by the U.S. Forest Service in their Forest and Range Ecosystem [FRES] Type classification):

FRES13 Loblolly - shortleaf pine
FRES14 Oak - pine
FRES15 Oak - hickory
FRES16 Oak - gum - cypress
FRES17 Elm - ash - cottonwood
FRES18 Maple - beech - birch
FRES19 Aspen - birch
FRES32 Texas savanna
FRES33 Southwestern shrubsteppe
FRES38 Plains grasslands
FRES39 Prairie

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Habitat: Cover Types

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This species is known to occur in association with the following cover types (as classified by the Society of American Foresters):

25 Sugar maple - beech - yellow birch
26 Sugar maple - basswood
27 Sugar maple
40 Post oak - blackjack oak
42 Bur oak
44 Chestnut oak
46 Eastern redcedar
52 White oak - black oak - northern red oak
53 White oak
55 Northern red oak
59 Yellow-poplar - white oak - northern red oak
60 Beech - sugar maple
64 Sassafras - persimmon
65 Pin oak - sweetgum
78 Virginia pine - oak
79 Virginia pine
80 Loblolly pine - shortleaf pine
81 Loblolly pine
87 Sweetgum - yellow-poplar
89 Live oak
110 Black oak

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Soils and Topography

Redbud is found on a variety of sites ranging from xeric to mesic  but grows better on moist, well-drained sites. It is normally  more abundant on south-facing slopes where sunlight is more  intense and there is less plant competition (11). This species  does not usually grow on flooded sites because it cannot endure  inundation or survive in poorly aerated soils.

    The tree grows well in a variety of soil textures but is not found  in coarse sands (11). It requires some fine or colloidal  material. Redbud is tolerant of a wide pH range but grows best  where the pH is above 7.5. It is prevalent on limestone outcrops  and on alkaline soils derived from them (11,12). Redbud is  tolerant of nutrient deficiencies. Therefore, less competition  can occur from associated trees that are less vigorous on the  nutrient deficient sites. In Indiana no relationship was noted  between distribution of redbud and soil calcium or magnesium.  Redbud is found on soils of most soil orders, but most commonly  on those of the orders Alfisols and Mollisols.

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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James G. Dickson

Source: Silvics of North America

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Climate

A wide range of climatic conditions are present in the large  geographical range of redbud. Mean annual precipitation is less  than 510 mm (20 in) in dry south Texas and approximately 1270 mm  (50 in) in moist central Florida. Mean annual snowfall in the  northern perimeter of redbud is about 90 cm (35 in). Mean January  temperatures vary from -8° C (18° F) to 16° C (61°  F) within the native range of redbud. Mean July temperatures vary  from about 21° C (70° F) in southern Pennsylvania to 26°  C (79° F) in central Florida. Frost-free days can vary from  160 to 300 days.

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

James G. Dickson

Source: Silvics of North America

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Dispersal

Establishment

Eastern redbud is widely cultivated as an ornamental because of the plants showy springtime flowers and beautiful heart-shaped leaves. The plants are graceful with arching branches that look lovely as a specimen tree, in groupings, and in shrub borders. The plants do well in soils of moderate to low fertility and are very drought resistant. The seeds have very hard seed coats that require both chilling and scarification for germination, unless planted in the fall. Cuttings are difficult to root. Mature plants do not transplant well so buy young plants that are balled-and-burlapped or container grown. Transplant the plants in the spring or fall, in well-drained soils in sun to part shade. Water the plants regularly until established.

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USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Associations

Faunal Associations

The flowers of Redbud are pollinated primarily by bees, including honeybees (Apis mellifera), bumblebees (Bombus spp.), digger bees (Synhalonia spp.), cuckoo bees (Nomada spp.), mason bees (Osmia spp.), Andrenid bees (Andrena spp.), and Halictid bees (various spp.). The bees are attracted to both nectar and pollen. Other insects feed on the leaves, wood, or juices of Redbud. These species include the caterpillars of the butterfly Callophrys henrici (Henry's Elfin) and the caterpillars of the following moths
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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Flower-Visiting Insects of Redbud in Illinois

Cercis canadensis (Redbud)
(Bees suck nectar or collect pollen, while other insects suck nectar; butterflies, skippers, & beetles are non-pollinating; most observations are from Robertson, otherwise they are from Krombein et al. as indicated below)

Bees (long-tongued)
Apidae (Apinae): Apis mellifera sn cp fq; Apidae (Bombini): Bombus auricomus sn fq, Bombus griseocallis sn cp, Bombus impatiens sn, Bombus pensylvanica sn, Bombus vagans sn; Anthophoridae (Anthophorini): Anthophora ursina sn fq, Habropoda laboriosus sn; Anthophoridae (Ceratinini): Ceratina calcarata sn; Anthophoridae (Eucerini): Synhalonia belfragii sn, Synhalonia speciosa sn cp fq icp; Anthophoridae (Nomadini): Nomada affabilis sn, Nomada cuneatus sn, Nomada denticulata sn, Nomada luteola sn, Nomada sayi sn, Nomada sulphurata sn; Megachilidae (Osmiini): Osmia atriventris sn cp, Osmia bucephala bucephala sn cp, Osmia conjuncta sn cp, Osmia lignaria lignaria sn cp fq, Osmia pumila sn cp fq

Bees (short-tongued)
Halictidae (Halictinae): Agapostemon sericea sn, Augochlora purus purus sn, Augochlorella striata sn, Augochloropsis metallica metallica sn, Halictus confusus sn cp fq, Halictus rubicunda sn cp fq, Lasioglossum cinctipes sn, Lasioglossum coriaceus sn, Lasioglossum forbesii sn, Lasioglossum imitatus sn cp fq, Lasioglossum pilosus pilosus sn, Lasioglossum versatus sn cp fq, Lasioglossum zephyrus sn; Colletidae (Colletinae): Colletes inaequalis sn cp fq (Rb, Kr); Andrenidae (Andreninae): Andrena carlini sn cp (Rb, Kr), Andrena cressonii sn, Andrena forbesii (Kr), Andrena heraclei (Kr), Andrena hippotes (Kr), Andrena imitatrix imitatrix sn cp, Andrena mandibularis sn cp, Andrena sayi sn cp

Wasps
Vespidae: Polistes fuscata sn

Flies
Empididae: Empis otiosa sn fq, Empis pudica sn, Rhamphomyia priapulus sn; Bombyliidae: Bombylius major sn

Butterflies
Nymphalidae: Vanessa atalanta sn np, Vanessa virginiensis sn np; Lycaenidae: Everes comyntas sn np

Skippers
Hesperiidae: Erynnis icelus sn np, Erynnis juvenalis sn np

Beetles
Cerambycidae: Molorchus bimaculatus sn np

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In Great Britain and/or Ireland:
Foodplant / feeds on
pycnidium of Diplodia coelomycetous anamorph of Diplodia siliquastri feeds on Cercis canadensis

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Associated Forest Cover

Redbud is a regular but usually not a common understory component  of many forest types throughout the Eastern United States. It is  not a commercial timber species, and although it grows in many  forest cover types, it is not listed in all of them by the  Society of American Foresters (4).

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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James G. Dickson

Source: Silvics of North America

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Diseases and Parasites

Damaging Agents

Redbud is a host to a variety of insects,  but damage is not normally severe. Bark and phloem borers include  three species of Hypothenemus, and Pityophthorus  lautus (2). A seed beetle, Gibbobruchus mimus, breeds  in the seed of redbud.

    Numerous wood borers have been found in redbud. Agrilus  otiosus, three species of Hypothenemus, three species  of Micracis, two species of Microcisella,  Pityophthorus lautus, Ptosima gibbicollis, and Thysanoes  fimbricornis all inhabit portions of the wood of redbud.

    Other insects feed on the leaves of redbud. The redbud leaffolder,  Fascista cercerisella, feeds on leaves which the larvae  web together. The grape leaffolder, Desmia funeralis, an  important pest of grape, also feeds on redbud. The Japanese  weevil, Callirhopalus bifasciatus, and Norape ovina  both consume redbud leaves.

    Other insects feed on redbud by extracting juices from the plant.  The twolined spittlebug, Prosapia bicincta, has been  recorded feeding on redbud. The terrapin scale, Mesolecanium  nigrofasciatum, and San Jose scale, Quadraspidiotus  perniciosus, like most of the other redbud parasites, inhabit  a variety of hosts including redbud. The periodical cicada, Magicicada  septendecim, lays its eggs in more than 70 species of trees  and other plants, including redbud.

    There are three main diseases of redbud: leaf anthracnose, Mycosphaerella  cercidicola, Botryosphaeria canker, and Verticillium wilt  (6). The most serious is the canker Botryosphaeria ribis or  its variety chromogena. The species is mainly a saprobe;  the variety is a parasite. This variety produces stem and twig  lesions and entire groves of redbuds have been killed by this  disease. Verticillium wilt (Verticillium albo-atrum) sometimes  kills redbuds, especially in the Midwestern United States. Redbud  is vulnerable to Texas root rot (Phymatotrichum omnivorum),  but redbud is not commonly grown in its range. A variety of  sap and heart rots also infect eastern redbud.

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

James G. Dickson

Source: Silvics of North America

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General Ecology

Fire Management Considerations

More info for the terms: climax, prescribed fire

In Texas, chaining and burning live oak (Quercus virginiana), white oak
(Q. alba), Texas oak (Q. texana), and Ashe juniper (Juniperus ashei)
resulted in an increase in fire climax species, including Texas redbud.
Fires maintain root sprouters like Texas redbud in a low growing
condition. Prescribed fire is recommended for these areas to cover
approximately 10 to 15 percent of the total area each year (resulting in
a 5- to 10-year rotation) [21].
  • 21. Franklin, Joe; Brand, Rex. 1991. Cattle and fire--important tools benefiting wildlife. Rangelands. 13(4): 177-180. [16114]

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Plant Response to Fire

More info for the terms: density, prescribed fire, relative dominance, surface fire, wildfire

In North Carolina, a 1931 wildfire burned with varying intensity in a
35-year-old oldfield loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) stand. Flowering
dogwood and estern redbud were the most abundant woody species in the
understory and in the shrub/seedling strata of the unburned area 9 years
after the fire. Eastern redbud was recorded for the area that
experienced crown fires but was present at a lower density and frequency
than in the unburned stand. No eastern redbud was recorded for the area
that had experienced surface fire. No specific data on composition of
the plots prior to the fire was reported [39].

In Alabama, the relative dominance of eastern redbud decreased on plots
that were burned in spring and in fall, as measured from 1 to 3 years
after clearcutting and prescribed fire. By 3 years after a
low-intensity spotty spring fire, however, average height of eastern
redbud was 17 feet (5 m) (as compared to 21 feet (6) on unburned plots).
On plots that had experienced a more uniform, intense fire, average
height of eastern redbud was 8 feet (2.4 m) only 1 year after the fire [28,36].

Germinable eastern redbud seeds were present in the seedbank but not
represented in the vegetation of a tallgrass prairie site that was
prescribed burned annually between 1978 and 1984. The seeds were not
reported from unburned sites or from sites that experienced fire at
4-year intervals [2].

Average crude protein for eastern redbud was slightly higher on plots
that had been treated with herbicide and fire than on untreated plots [8].

The Research Paper by Bowles and others 2007 provides information on
postfire responses of several plant species, including eastern redbud,
that was not available when this species review was written.
  • 2. Abrams, Marc D. 1988. Effects of burning regime on buried seed banks and canopy coverage in a Kansas tallgrass prairie. Southwestern Naturalist. 33(1): 65-70. [4415]
  • 8. Bogle, Laurie A.; Engle, David M.; McCollum, F. Ted. 1989. Nutritive value of range plants in the Cross Timbers. Report P-908. Stillwater, OK: Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station. 29 p. [9293]
  • 28. Huntley, Jimmy C.; McGee, Charles E. 1981. Timber and wildlife implications of fire in young upland hardwoods. In: Barnett, James P., ed. Proceedings, 1st biennial southern silvicultural research conference; 1980 November 6-7; Atlanta, GA. Gen. Tech. Rep. SO-34. New Orleans, LA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Forest Experiment Station: 56-66. [12080]
  • 36. McGee, Charles E. 1980. The effect of fire on species dominance in young upland hardwood stands. In: Proceedings, mid-south upland hardwood symposium for the practicing forester and land manager; [Date of conference unknown]
  • 39. Oosting, Henry J. 1944. The comparative effect of surface and crown fire on the composition of a loblolly pine community. Ecology. 25(1): 61-69. [9919]

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Immediate Effect of Fire

Eastern redbud is easily top-killed by fire but regenerates after fire
by sprouting. Eastern redbud developed clusters of root sprouts after
being top-killed by a prescribed spring fire to discourage the
encroachment of woody species onto a south-central Ohio prairie [4].
  • 4. Annala, Anne E.; Kapustka, Lawrence A. 1982. The microbial and vegetational response to fire in the Lynx Prairie Preserve, Adams County, Ohio. Prairie Naturalist. 14(4): 101-112. [2922]

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Post-fire Regeneration

Tree with adventitious-bud root crown/soboliferous species root sucker

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Fire Ecology

More info for the terms: fire tolerant, top-kill

Eastern redbud is rated as fire tolerant due to its habit of sprouting
vigorously after top-kill by fire [5]. However, it is not reported as a
postfire colonizer, and it is not a member of communities which
experience frequent fire.

At the prairie-forest ecotone, prairie fires limit the spread of woody
vegetation. The lack of fire, perhaps coupled with climatic factors,
has led to the encroachment of woodlands (in which eastern redbud
occurs) onto former prairies [1,9]. In eastern Kansas, eastern redbud
occurs in bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa)-chinkapin oak (Q. muehlenbergii)
stands which have established on former tallgrass prairie
(Andropogon-Panicum-Sorghastrum). These forests are normally confined
to galleries along rivers. Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis) and eastern
redbud establish about 10 to 30 years after the cessation of fire (and
following oak establishment) in this area. Long fire-free periods allow
succession to proceed from shade intolerant oaks to more shade tolerant
hickories and eastern redbud. Eastern redbud may replace chinkapin oak
on steep, dry sites. Hackberry is more likely to become dominant on
moist sites [1]. In southern Illinois, a prairie barren was treated
with four prescribed fires between 1969 and 1973 and subsequently
experienced no fires. Eastern redbud seedlings and saplings were first
recorded on the plots in 1983, 10 years after the last fire [3].

In central Oklahoma, eastern redbud occurred in post oak (Quercus
stellata)-blackjack oak (Q. marilandica) forest which had not
experienced recent fire, and was not reported for post oak-blackjack oak
savanna which is maintained by fire and edaphic conditions [30].
  • 5. Armstrong, W. E. 1980. Impact of prescribed burning on wildlife. In: White, Larry D., ed. Prescribed range burning in the Edwards Plateau of Texas: Proceedings of a symposium; 1980 October 23; Junction, TX. College Station, TX: Texas Agricultural Extension Service, The Texas A&M University System: 22-26. [11430]
  • 1. Abrams, Marc D. 1986. Ecological role of fire in gallery forests in eastern Kansas. In: Koonce, Andrea L., ed. Prescribed burning in the Midwest: state-of-the-art: Proceedings of a symposium; 1986 March 3-6; Stevens Point, WI. Stevens Point, WI: University of Wisconsin, College of Natural Resources, Fire Science Center: 73-80. [16271]
  • 3. Anderson, Roger C.; Schwegman, John E. 1991. Twenty years of vegetational change on a southern Illinois barren. Natural Areas Journal. 11(2): 100-107. [16256]
  • 9. Bragg, Thomas B.; Hulbert, Lloyd C. 1976. Woody plant invasion of unburned Kansas bluestem prairie. Journal of Range Management. 29(1): 19-24. [10383]
  • 30. Johnson, Forrest L.; Risser, Paul G. 1975. A quantitative comparison between an oak forest and an oak savannah in central Oklahoma. Southwestern Naturalist. 20(1): 75-84. [11366]

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Successional Status

More info on this topic.

More info for the terms: hardwood, mesic, relative dominance

Facultative Seral Species

Eastern redbud is moderately tolerant of shade and grows well in full
sun. Flower and fruit production is best in full sun, but eastern
redbud's tolerance of full sunlight decreases in hot and dry areas
[50,54]. It has been hypothesized that eastern redbud and similar
midstory trees such as flowering dogwood attain a midstory canopy height
that maximizes interception of sunflecks (transitory periods of full sun
created by gaps in the canopy and the angle of the sun). If this is the
case, eastern redbud requires at least short periods of sunlight for
growth [54].

Eastern redbud apparently establishes in middle seres, forming a
midstory layer, often with flowering dogwood. In North Carolina,
eastern redbud and flowering dogwood developed as a distinct midstory
under an oldfield shortleaf pine (Pinus echinata) canopy as the stand
approached middle age (85 years) [7]. In western Tennessee, eastern
redbud was recorded on 28-year-old abandoned agricultural fields, but
not recorded on 3- and 12-year-old sites [48]. In Texas, primary
succession in gravel pit excavations did not include eastern redbud even
on the 47-year-old site, although eastern redbud was present in adjacent
undisturbed forest [60]. Eastern redbud is a characteristic midstory
species in mesic southern mixed hardwood forests which succeed
pine-hardwood mixtures, and could therefore be classed as a
late-successional species [43]. It occurs, for example, in an
old-growth oak forest in northwestern Ohio [61] and it is present as
seedlings, saplings and mature trees in southern mixed hardwood forest
in north-central Florida [38]. It may not, however, be stable in some
climax communities: eastern redbud was reported as decreasing in
importance and relative dominance in an oldgrowth oak (Quercus
spp.)-hickory (Carya spp.) forest in Illinois [49].

Although eastern redbud is not usually described as a pioneer species it
often increases in dominance on sites experiencing disturbance. It is
common on cutover or windthrown areas on calcareous soils [35]. In
Indiana, a tornado caused severe windthrow in a sugar maple (Acer
saccharum)-Ohio buckeye (Aesculus glabra) stand. Prior to the tornado,
eastern redbud was a minor component in the stand. The most severely
damaged portion of the forest was still mostly open 7 years after the
disturbance and was dominated by sugar maple, elms (Ulmus spp.), Ohio
buckeye, and eastern redbud. Eastern redbud, which increased
dramatically in the first years after the tornado, will probably decline
in importance as taller species begin to close the canopy [35].
  • 7. Billings, W. D. 1938. The structure and development of old field shortleaf pine stands and certain associated physical properties of the soil. Ecological Monographs. 8(3): 437-499. [10701]
  • 35. Martin, Christian J.; MacMillan, Paul C. 1982. Seven years of forest succession in Happy Valley, Jefferson County, Indiana. Indiana Academy of Science. 92: 197-206. [10369]
  • 38. Monk, Carl D. 1965. Southern mixed hardwood forest of northcentral Florida. Ecological Monographs. 35: 335-354. [9263]
  • 43. Quarterman, Elsie; Keever, Catherine. 1962. Southern mixed hardwood forest: climax in the southeastern coastal plain, U.S.A. Ecological Monographs. 32: 167-185. [10801]
  • 48. Shankman, David. 1990. Forest regeneration on abandoned agricultural fields in western Tennessee. Southeastern Geographer. 30(1): 36-47. [17640]
  • 49. Shotola, Steven J.; Weaver, G. T.; Robertson, P. A.; Ashby, W. C. 1992. Sugar maple invasion of an old-growth oak-hickory forest in southwestern Illinois. American Midland Naturalist. 127(1): 125-138. [17581]
  • 50. Smith, G. Shannon; Pittcock, Kim. 1989. The collector's quest. American Nurseryman. 169(1): 56-65. [12243]
  • 54. Terborgh, John. 1985. The vertical component of plant species diversity in temperate and tropical forests. American Naturalist. 126(6): 760-776. [14093]
  • 60. Nixon, Elray S. 1975. Successional stages in a hardwood bottomland forest near Dallas, Texas. Southwestern Naturalist. 20: 323-335. [12250]
  • 61. Boerner, Ralph E. J.; Cho, Do-Soon. 1987. Structure and composition of Goll Woods, an old-growth forest remnant in northwestern Ohio. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club. 114(2): 173-179. [8711]

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Regeneration Processes

More info for the terms: root crown, softwood

Eastern redbud reproduces by bird dispersed seeds [47]. On average,
first reproduction occurs when an individual is about 15 feet tall (4.5
m), although sometimes blooming begins when trees are 5 to 7 feet
(1.5-2.1 m) in height [14]. Pods may be borne by 5-year-old eastern
redbud, with a maximum reproductive age of 75 years. Good seed crops
usually occur in alternate years [56]. The seeds exhibit combined
dormancy: internal dormancy plus a hard, impermeable seedcoat [46]. In
nursery practice, both scarification and cold, moist stratification are
required for germination [59].

Eastern redbud sprouts from the roots or root crown following topkill [5].

Eastern redbud can be propagated by softwood cuttings [17].
  • 5. Armstrong, W. E. 1980. Impact of prescribed burning on wildlife. In: White, Larry D., ed. Prescribed range burning in the Edwards Plateau of Texas: Proceedings of a symposium; 1980 October 23; Junction, TX. College Station, TX: Texas Agricultural Extension Service, The Texas A&M University System: 22-26. [11430]
  • 14. Clark, Ross; Bachtell, Kris R. 1992. Eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis L.). Morton Arboretum Quarterly. 28(1): 6-10. [22836]
  • 17. Doran, William L. 1941. The propagation of some trees and shrubs by cuttings. Bulletin No. 382. Amherst, MA: Massachusetts State College, Massachusetts Agricultural Experiment Station. 56 p. [20255]
  • 46. Rolston, M. Philip. 1978. Water impermeable seed dormancy. Botanical Review. 44(3): 365-396. [20266]
  • 47. Roy, Douglass F. 1974. Cercis L. redbud. In: Schopmeyer, C. S., technical coordinator. Seeds of woody plants in the United States. Agric. Handb. 450. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 305-308. [7582]
  • 56. Vines, Robert A. 1960. Trees, shrubs, and woody vines of the Southwest. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press. 1104 p. [7707]
  • 59. Young, James A.; Young, Cheryl G. 1986. Collecting, processing and germinating seeds of wildland plants. Portland, OR: Timber Press. 236 p. [12232]

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Growth Form (according to Raunkiær Life-form classification)

More info on this topic.

More info for the term: phanerophyte

Phanerophyte

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Life Form

More info for the terms: shrub, tree

Tree, Shrub

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Reaction to Competition

As redbuds grow and mature they  become less shade tolerant. Old trees usually suffer from heart  rot and cannot normally tolerate severe competition and shade.  Redbud is most accurately classed as tolerant of shade.

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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James G. Dickson

Source: Silvics of North America

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Rooting Habit

Redbud develops a deep taproot that  descends rapidly the first few years if the soil permits. Initial  growth depends on soil moisture and the absence of a tight clay  subsoil. If impenetrable subsoils are present the taproot grows  horizontally. Secondary roots appear when the taproot is 5 to 8  cm (2 to 3 in) long and grow rapidly.

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Phenology

More info on this topic.

More info for the term: tree

Eastern redbud flowers appear before the leaves from as early as
February in the southeastern United States to May [11,16,56]. In the
southern part of its range, eastern redbud pods are fully grown by the
end of May and ripen by September or October [16,56]. The pods split
open in late autumn to winter, sometimes persisting on the tree through
the winter [18,56].
  • 11. Brown, Russell G.; Brown, Melvin L. 1972. Woody plants of Maryland. Baltimore, MD: Port City Press. 347 p. [21844]
  • 16. Collingwood, G. H.; Brush, Warren D.; [revised and edited by Butcher, Devereux]
  • 18. Duncan, Wilbur H.; Duncan, Marion B. 1988. Trees of the southeastern United States. Athens, GA: The University of Georgia Press. 322 p. [12764]
  • 56. Vines, Robert A. 1960. Trees, shrubs, and woody vines of the Southwest. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press. 1104 p. [7707]

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Reproduction

Vegetative Reproduction

No information available.

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Seedling Development

Approximate site characteristics and  seedling vigor determine seedling establishment. Germination is  epigeal (14). Under optimum conditions seedlings can grow 0.3 m  (1 ft) in height the first growing season. Continuous terminal  growth is related to light intensity, photoperiod, and  temperature (11). Once established, seedlings can endure much  shading.

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Seed Production and Dissemination

Seeds are released by  the opening of fruit sutures or decay of the fruit wall. Most  seeds are dispersed during fall and winter by wind and animals.  Many seeds are injured by insects. Those that fall to the ground  usually remain dormant for several years (1).

    For artificial propagation, seeds should be collected, cleaned,  and dried when ripe to avoid insect damage. Dried seeds can be  stored in sealed glass or metal containers at 2' to 5' C (35' to  41° F). Seed treatment is necessary for propagation because  redbud shows delayed germination due to impermeability of the  seed coat to water and dormancy of the embryo (1). The seed coat  can be made permeable to water by mechanical scarification or by  immersion in boiling water or in concentrated sulfuric acid for  about 30 minutes. After scarifying, seeds should be stratified in  moist sand at about 5° C (41' F) for 5 to 8 weeks (14).

    Prepared seeds should be sown in well-prepared seedbeds in late  April or early May (14). Moist soil should cover seeds at a  maximum depth of 0.5 em (0.2 in). Propagation can also be  accomplished by layering or cuttings.

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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James G. Dickson

Source: Silvics of North America

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Flowering and Fruiting

Redbud flowers are pink to reddish  purple, and rarely white. They are home on pedicels in clusters  of two to eight. Flowers are produced from small buds on old  twigs, branches, and trunks. Flowers are bisexual and the tree is  self-pollinating. Flowering usually occurs sometime from March to  May and precedes leafing. In Indiana, the tree requires 30 days  of temperatures averaging more than 10° C (50° F) .  Previous winter chilling also enhances flowering (11).  Pollination is usually accomplished by bees. After 2 or 3 weeks  leaves appear and the flowers drop. The ovaries of one to several  flowers in most flower clusters enlarge and develop into fruits  that reach their full size by midsummer (13). Fruits are flat  reddish-brown pods about 1.3 cm (0.5 in) wide and 5 to 10 cm (2  to 4 in) long (16). Each fruit contains 4 to 10 brown, hard,  compressed bean-like seeds, each about 6mm (0.25 in) long. The  fruits remain on the tree until after leaf fall; some persist  throughout winter (15).

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Growth

Growth and Yield

Development of young redbud to the  flowering stage is rapid. Young redbuds have been observed first  flowering when less than 7 years old but do not fruit the first  year of blossoming. Annual cambial growth begins just before  flowering and shoot growth usually begins during flowering (11).  In Indiana terminal growth of saplings started when the weekly  mean of the daily mean temperature reached 13° C (55°  F). Maximum growth was reached the fourth week and growth ceased  after 6 to 10 weeks under low soil moisture conditions. With  adequate soil moisture, terminal growth continued until frost.  More than 1076 lux (100 lumens/ft²) of light and more than  13 hours of daylight daily are needed to maintain terminal growth  of saplings.

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Source: Silvics of North America

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Genetics

Donselman (3) investigated morphological variation in  trees grown from seed collected from 13 diverse locations in the  range of redbud. He concluded that trees from more xeric  locations in the Southwestern and western portions of the range  exhibited adaptations to high solar radiation, drying winds, low  humidity, low soil moisture, and other environmental factors  associated with high evapotranspiration. Leaves from those plants  were thicker and smaller, had increased pubescence, and showed  more efficient stomatal geometry than trees from mesic locations. 

    Two subspecies of redbud have been identified: Texas redbud (Cercis  canadensis var. texensis) found in southern Oklahoma,  Trans-Pecos Texas, and southeastern New Mexico; and eastern  redbud (C. canadensis var. canadensis) found in  the remainder of the range of redbud (9). Another native Cercis  species, California redbud (C. occidentalis), is  found in Utah, Nevada, California and Arizona.

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Cercis canadensis

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Cercis canadensis

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 3
Specimens with Barcodes: 3
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: NX - Presumed Extirpated

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LR/lc
Lower Risk/least concern

Red List Criteria

Version
2.3

Year Assessed
2000
  • Needs updating

Assessor/s
Hilton-Taylor, C.

Reviewer/s

Contributor/s

History
  • 1998
    Extinct
    (Oldfield et al. 1998)
  • 1998
    Extinct
  • 1997
    Endangered
    (Walter and Gillett 1998)
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Source: IUCN

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Status

Please consult the PLANTS Web site and your State Department of Natural Resources for this plant’s current status (e.g. threatened or endangered species, state noxious status, and wetland indicator values).

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USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Threats

Pests and potential problems

Eastern redbud has relatively few pests. Stem canker, leaf spots, and verticillium wilt may be a problem. The plants may experience some insect damage from leaf rollers, treehoppers, scales, leafhoppers, aphids, and spider mites, but damage is rarely severe.

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USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Management

Management considerations

More info for the term: cover

On southern red oak (Quercus falcata) sites that were clearcut, eastern
redbud increased on plots where flowering dogwood, red maple (Acer
rubrum), and hickory (Carya spp.) were injected with herbicides. This
increase may be in part due to bird dispersed seed since bird activity
was high in this area [26].

The response of eastern redbud to tebuthiruon or triclopyr treatments
was reported by Stritzke and others [52]. Neither of the herbicides
used resulted in more than 66 percent kill of eastern redbud, and by 2
years after the treatment, canopy cover of all species had increased to
94 percent (plots with no herbicides averaged 175% canopy cover) [52].
Picloram has been reported as effectively suppressing sprouting in
redbud [58].

Eastern redbud is relatively free of serious insect pests and diseases
[15]. It is fed upon by gypsy moth larvae (later stages) only when
preferred species are not available [24].

Eastern redbud is rated as moderately sensitive to ozone damage [25].
  • 15. Collier, Clifford W., Jr.; Longenecker, George W. 1972. Cultivation of eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis). Misc. Pub. 434. Morgantown, WV: West Virginia University, Cooperative Extension Service. 2 p. [22837]
  • 24. Gottschalk, Kurt W. 1988. Gypsy moth and regenerating Appalachian hardwood stands. In: Smith, H. Clay; Perkey, Arlyn W.; Kidd, William E., Jr., eds. Guidelines for regenerating Appalachian hardwood stands: Workshop proceedings; 1988 May 24-26; Morgantown, WV. SAF Publ. 88-03. Morgantown, WV: West Virginia University Books: 241-254. [13950]
  • 25. Hacker, David; Renfro, James. 1992. Great Smoky Mountain plants studied for ozone sensitivity. Park Science. 12(1): 6-7. [17788]
  • 26. Hopper, George; Houston, Allan; Buckner, Edward. 1991. Natural hardwood regeneration 6 years after clearcutting as influenced by herbicide injection and scalping. In: Coleman, Sandra S.; Neary, Daniel G., compilers. Proceedings, 6th biennial southern silvicultural research conference: Volume 1; 1990 October 30 - November 1; Memphis, TN. Gen. Tech. Rep. SE-70. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southeastern Forest Experiment Station: 186-193. [17477]
  • 52. Stritzke, Jimmy F.; Engle, David M.; McCollum, F. Ted. 1991. Vegetation management in the Cross Timbers: response of woody species to herbicides and burning. Weed Technology. 5(2): 400-405. [16395]
  • 58. Windus, Jennifer L.; Zito, Phil. 1988. Interventionist management of a shale barrens prairie in southern Ohio. Restoration & Management Notes. 6(1): 33-34. [4676]

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Cultivars, improved and selected materials (and area of origin)

These plant materials are readily available from commercial sources. Contact your local Natural Resources Conservation Service (formerly Soil Conservation Service) office for more information. Look in the phone book under ”United States Government.” The Natural Resources Conservation Service will be listed under the subheading “Department of Agriculture.”

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These plants require very little maintenance. The brown seedpods, which can cling to the branches until late in the year, can be somewhat unattractive.

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Other uses and values

More info for the term: tree

Eastern redbud is a popular ornamental [11]. It is listed among trees
useful for xeriscaping (landscaping for minimal water use) [40]. It is
sometimes a valuable source of nectar for honey production [47]. The
flowers may be pickled for use in salads or fried (a common practice in
Mexico). An astringent fluid extract from redbud bark has been used in
treating dysentery [41].

Eastern redbud is the state tree of Oklahoma [13].
  • 11. Brown, Russell G.; Brown, Melvin L. 1972. Woody plants of Maryland. Baltimore, MD: Port City Press. 347 p. [21844]
  • 13. Calabrese, Diane M. 1993. A geography of state trees. American Forests. 99(3&4): 34-37. [21053]
  • 40. Olcott-Reid, Brenda. 1990. Xeriscaping: Landscaping to conserve water. Flower & Garden. 34(3): 44-45,66-69. [5182]
  • 41. Powell, A. Michael. 1988. Trees & shrubs of Trans-Pecos Texas including Big Bend and Guadalupe Mountains National Parks. Big Bend National Park, TX: Big Bend Natural History Association. 536 p. [6130]
  • 47. Roy, Douglass F. 1974. Cercis L. redbud. In: Schopmeyer, C. S., technical coordinator. Seeds of woody plants in the United States. Agric. Handb. 450. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 305-308. [7582]

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Value for rehabilitation of disturbed sites

More info for the term: density

Eastern redbud was planted on surface mined sites in Indiana between
1928 and 1975 [10]. It is apparently no longer used much for this
purpose.

Eastern redbud was present as a volunteer at a density of 40 stems per
acre on a 30-year-old plantation on a surface mined site in Missouri [57].
  • 10. Brothers, Timothy S. 1988. Indiana surface-mine forests: historical development and composition of a human-created vegetation complex. Southeastern Geographer. 28(1): 19-33. [8787]
  • 57. Vogel, Willis G. 1977. Revegetation of surface-mined lands in the East. In: Forests for people: A challenge in world affairs: Proc. of the Society of American Foresters 1977 national convention; 1977 October 2-6; Albuquerque, NM. Washington, DC: Society of American Foresters: 167-172. [9949]

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Importance to Livestock and Wildlife

More info for the term: tree

Eastern redbud seeds or pods are eaten by quail, pheasants [11], other
birds including goldfinch [27], and deer [11]. Birds will open pods on
the tree to get at the seeds [16]. Deer and cattle browse young trees [53].

Eastern redbud occurs in Ashe juniper (Juniperus ashei) habitat which is
critical to endangered golden-cheeked warblers. The relationship of
eastern redbud to golden-cheeked warblers was not reported (the warblers
are primarily insectivorous) [32].
  • 11. Brown, Russell G.; Brown, Melvin L. 1972. Woody plants of Maryland. Baltimore, MD: Port City Press. 347 p. [21844]
  • 16. Collingwood, G. H.; Brush, Warren D.; [revised and edited by Butcher, Devereux]
  • 27. Hunter, Carl G. 1989. Trees, shrubs, and vines of Arkansas. Little Rock, AR: The Ozark Society Foundation. 207 p. [21266]
  • 32. Kroll, James C. 1980. Habitat requirements of the golden-cheeked warbler: management implications. Journal of Range Management. 33(1): 60-65. [19844]
  • 53. Stubbendiek, James; Conard, Elverne C. 1989. Common legumes of the Great Plains: an illustrated guide. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press. 330 p. [11049]

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Wood Products Value

The wood of eastern redbud is heavy, hard, and close-grained [11,16],
but weak [56]. It is of no commercial value since the trees are rarely
large enough to provide merchantable timber [11].
  • 11. Brown, Russell G.; Brown, Melvin L. 1972. Woody plants of Maryland. Baltimore, MD: Port City Press. 347 p. [21844]
  • 16. Collingwood, G. H.; Brush, Warren D.; [revised and edited by Butcher, Devereux]
  • 56. Vines, Robert A. 1960. Trees, shrubs, and woody vines of the Southwest. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press. 1104 p. [7707]

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Nutritional Value

Crude protein, digestibility, and water content were reported for
eastern redbud on untreated plots and plots treated with herbicide and
fire over the course of a growing season [8].
  • 8. Bogle, Laurie A.; Engle, David M.; McCollum, F. Ted. 1989. Nutritive value of range plants in the Cross Timbers. Report P-908. Stillwater, OK: Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station. 29 p. [9293]

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Palatability

Armstrong [5] lists redbud as moderately preferred browse for
white-tailed deer on the Edwards Plateau, Texas.
  • 5. Armstrong, W. E. 1980. Impact of prescribed burning on wildlife. In: White, Larry D., ed. Prescribed range burning in the Edwards Plateau of Texas: Proceedings of a symposium; 1980 October 23; Junction, TX. College Station, TX: Texas Agricultural Extension Service, The Texas A&M University System: 22-26. [11430]

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Special Uses

The eastern redbud is extensively planted as an ornamental  throughout the Eastern United States. It is tolerant of a wide  range of site conditions, is not especially vulnerable to insects  or diseases, is relatively easy to maintain, and makes a  beautiful shrub or small tree, especially when flowering.

    Bark of redbud has been used as an astringent in the treatment of  dysentery. Flowers of the tree can be put into salads or fried  and eaten (16). There is some documented wildlife use of redbud  fruit. Cardinals have been observed feeding on the seeds, and  seeds have been consumed by ring-necked pheasants rose-breasted  grosbeaks (5), and bobwhites (7) White-tailed deer and gray  squirrels have also been observed feeding on the seeds (5).  Flowers of the tree are regarded as important in the production  of honey by bees (10).

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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James G. Dickson

Source: Silvics of North America

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Uses

Ethnobotanic: The Alabama, Cherokee, Delaware, Kiowa, and Oklahoma were among the Native American tribes that used eastern redbud for various purposes. The bark was made into a tea to treat whooping cough. Taking cold infusions of the roots and inner bark treated fevers and congestion. An infusion of the bark was used to treat vomiting and fever. During winters, the plants were used for firewood. Because it is one of the first plants to flower in the spring, the blossoming branches were brought into the homes to “drive winter out.” Children were “fond of eating the blossoms” of eastern redbud.

Wildlife/Livestock: Many birds, including bobwhite quails, eat the seeds. White-tailed deer are among the animals that browse the foliage. Honeybees visit the blossoms. Livestock will browse on Eastern redbud.

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Wikipedia

Cercis canadensis

Cercis canadensis (eastern redbud) is a large deciduous shrub or small tree, native to eastern North America from Southern Ontario, Canada south to northern Florida but can thrive as far west as California.

Eastern Redbud Blossoms
Detail of buds

Description[edit]

It typically grows to 6–9 m (20–30 ft) tall with a 8–10 m (26–33 ft) spread. It generally has a short, often twisted trunk and spreading branches. A 10-year-old tree will generally be around 5 m (16 ft) tall. The bark is dark in color, smooth, later scaly with ridges somewhat apparent, sometimes with maroon patches. The twigs are slender and zigzag, nearly black in color, spotted with lighter lenticels. The winter buds are tiny, rounded and dark red to chestnut in color. The leaves are alternate, simple, and heart shaped with an entire margin, 7–12 cm (3-5 inches) long and wide, thin and papery, and may be slightly hairy below.

The flowers are showy, light to dark magenta pink in color, 1.5 cm (½ inch) long, appearing in clusters from Spring to early Summer, on bare stems before the leaves, sometimes on the trunk itself. The flowers are pollinated by long-tongued bees such as blueberry bees and carpenter bees. Short-tongued bees apparently cannot reach the nectaries. The fruit are flattened, dry, brown, pea-like pods, 5–10 cm (2-4 inches) long that contain flat, elliptical, brown seeds 6 mm (¼ inch) long, maturing in August to October.

In some parts of southern Appalachia, green twigs from the eastern redbud are used as seasoning for wild game such as venison and opossum. Because of this, in these mountain areas the eastern redbud is sometimes known as the spicewood tree.

In the wild, eastern redbud is a frequent native understory tree in mixed forests and hedgerows. It is also much planted as a landscape ornamental plant. The leaves are eaten by the caterpillars of some Lepidoptera, for example the Io moth (Automeris io).

Cercis canadensis 'Forest Pansy' leaves.
Carpenter bee (Xylocopa virginica) on redbud flowers.
Cardinalis cardinalis male feeding female, in a white-flowered C. canadensis

In the United States, this tree is difficult to grow further west into arid areas west of western Kansas and Colorado, as there is not sufficient annual precipitation. Its far northern range of growth is the lower Midwest, Ohio Valley, to the south of Boston.

  • Bark: Red brown, with deep fissures and scaly surface. Branchlets at first lustrous brown, later become darker.
  • Wood: Dark reddish brown; heavy, hard, coarse-grained, not strong. Sp. gr., 0.6363; weight of cu. ft. 39.65 lbs.
  • Winter buds: Chestnut brown, obtuse, one-eighth inch long.
  • Leaves: Alternate, simple, heart-shaped or broadly ovate, two to five inches long, five to seven-nerved, chordate or truncate at the base, entire, acute. They come out of the bud folded along the line of the midrib, tawny green; when they are full grown they become smooth, dark green above, paler beneath. In autumn they turn bright clear yellow. Petioles slender, terete, enlarged at the base. Stipules caduceous.
  • Flowers: April, May, before and with the leaves, papilionaceous. Perfect, rose color, borne four to eight together, in fascicles which appear at the axils of the leaves or along the branch and sometimes on the trunk itself.
  • Calyx: Dark red, campanulate, oblique, five-toothed, imbricate in bud.
  • Corolla: Papilionaceous, petals five, nearly equal, pink or rose color, upper petal the smallest, enclosed in the bud by the wings, and encircled by the broader keel petals.
  • Stamens: Ten, inserted in two rows on a thin disk, free, the inner row rather shorter than the others.
  • Pistil: Ovary superior, inserted obliquely in the bottom of the calyx tube, stipitate; style fleshy, incurved, tipped with an obtuse stigma.
  • Fruit: Legume, slightly stipitate, unequally oblong, acute at each end. Compressed, tipped with the remnants of the style, straight on upper and curved on the lower edge. Two and a half to three inches long, rose color, full grown by midsummer, falls in early winter. Seeds ten to twelve, chestnut brown, one-fourth of an inch long -can be made to germinate by first dipping in boiled (99C) water (very hot) for a minute and then sowing in a pot (do not boil the seeds); cotyledons oval, flat.[2]

Cultivation[edit]

C. canadensis is grown in parks and gardens, with several cultivars being available. The cultivar 'Forest Pansy', with purple leaves, has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.[3]

Edibility[edit]

Native Americans consumed redbud flowers raw or boiled, and ate roasted seeds. Analysis of nutritional components in edible parts of eastern redbud reported that:

  • the flower extract contains anthocyanins,
  • green developing seeds contained proanthocyanides, and
  • linolenic, alpha-linolenic, oleic and palmitic acids to be present in seeds.[4]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hilton-Taylor (2000). Cercis canadensis. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. www.iucnredlist.org. Retrieved on 5 May 2006.
  2. ^ Keeler, Harriet L. (1900). Our Native Trees and How to Identify Them. New York: Charles Scriber's Sons. pp. 104–108. 
  3. ^ "RHS Plant Selector Cercis canadensis 'Forest Pansy'". Apps.rhs.org.uk. Retrieved 2013-06-13. 
  4. ^ Laura J. Hunter, et al. 2006. Analysis of nutritional components in edible parts of eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis L.). 62nd Southwest Regional American Chemical Society Meeting, Houston, Texas.
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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

More info for the term: xeric

The currently accepted scientific name for eastern redbud is Cercis
canadensis L. (Fabaceae) [11]. Texas redbud (C. c. var. texensis [Wats]
Hopkins) is recognized by some authorities [34]. Others include Mexican
redbud (C. c. var. mexicana [Rose] Hopkins) [41]. Clark and Bachtell
[14] report, however, that a common opinion among nursery workers is
that the two varieties represent environmentally induced morphologies
(i.e. more leathery leaves in more xeric conditions) and that C. c. var.
texensis and C. c. var. mexicana are all C. c. var. canadensis.
Information is reported by variety in this write-up.
  • 11. Brown, Russell G.; Brown, Melvin L. 1972. Woody plants of Maryland. Baltimore, MD: Port City Press. 347 p. [21844]
  • 14. Clark, Ross; Bachtell, Kris R. 1992. Eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis L.). Morton Arboretum Quarterly. 28(1): 6-10. [22836]
  • 34. Little, Elbert L., Jr. 1979. Checklist of United States trees (native and naturalized). Agric. Handb. 541. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 375 p. [2952]
  • 41. Powell, A. Michael. 1988. Trees & shrubs of Trans-Pecos Texas including Big Bend and Guadalupe Mountains National Parks. Big Bend National Park, TX: Big Bend Natural History Association. 536 p. [6130]

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Common Names

eastern redbud
redbud
Judas-tree

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Synonyms

C. reniformis Engl. [34]
  • 34. Little, Elbert L., Jr. 1979. Checklist of United States trees (native and naturalized). Agric. Handb. 541. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 375 p. [2952]

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