4744 Normandy Lane

Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis)

Cercis canadensis, the eastern redbud, is a harbinger of spring throughout most of eastern North America due to the clusters of pink or purplish-pink flowers that bloom in April, about two to three weeks before its unique heart-shaped leaves. The flowers appear on leafless branches and are followed by waxy, bronzy to reddish purple new leaves that soon turn a dark, almost bluish green and may assume yellow tints in fall. The leaves of this tree are good examples of palmate veins where several main veins, all of approximately equal size, extend from the base of the leaf to the apex of the lobe or margin of leaf. Compare this to leaves of other trees with pinnate veins where the leaf has a prominent central vein (often called the midrib) which extends from the base. 

This is a short-lived tree that is most often planted for its ornamental landscape value. The redbud grows to 20-30 feet tall with a spread up to 30 feet. It makes a bold landscape statement, with its irregular branching and graceful crown. 

The  flowers of the redbud attract nectar-seeking insects, including several species of early-season butterflies, and are even sometimes enjoyed by humans in salads. Birds, such as chickadees, will eat the redbud’s seeds. The eastern redbud is the state tree of Oklahoma.             

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