Showy redbuds are in bloom

The warm weather we have experienced recently have really set flowering and leaf development into motion; most of our trees and shrubs are experiencing bud break. Many of the early spring flowering trees are now in bloom, including the plums, crabapple, cherries, serviceberry and the redbud.

Redbud (Cercis canadensis) is a very common native plant that prefers disturbed areas that are somewhat dry, such as along roads. Right now, redbuds are showing their pinkish-purple flowers. The redbud is a smallish tree, rarely attaining a height of 30 feet. They have a brief life span, usually no longer than 30 years.

Eastern Redbud blooms

Redbuds are in the legume family, meaning their seed is enclosed in a pod. Legumes can extract nitrogen out of the air and deposit it in the ground, thereby enriching the soil. This capacity makes redbud a good choice for reforesting dry, barren sites such as strip mine reclamation areas. The showy, persistent bloom makes it a popular ornamental tree, and a number of varieties have been cultivated. The Bible recounts how Judas hanged himself from a redbud tree after betraying Jesus. That is why the redbud is also known as the Judas tree.

Article by FCFCDB

Nature Notes for 4/24/2011