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General: Pea Family (Fabaceae). Western or California redbud is a leguminous shrub that grows from 7 to 20 feet tall with a dense rounded crown that almost reaches the ground. Western redbud is recognized as Cercis occidentalis in older floras. The leaves are simple, thick, round or reniform, and cordate at the base, and have from seven to nine prominent veins. They are winter deciduous; their autumn display of yellow turning to red and brown rivaling that of some eastern hardwoods. The striking pea-shaped flowers appear before the leaves, in small fascicles along the branches. Each flower has five petals that range in color from magenta pink to reddish purple. Pollination is by bumblebees (Bombus sp.) and orchard mason bees (Osmia lignaria). Although the pink sprays can be seen from February through April, any one shrub will remain in flower only about two weeks. In autumn the branches often bear many clusters of pointed, flat, vary thin pods, the upper suture with a conspicuous winged margin. In ripening, the pods are first purple and then russet-brown, each containing an average of seven hard, bean-like seeds. The mature pods persist into the next winter. Known from the southwest U.S.


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USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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