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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.