The Eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis) is a medium-sized tree that grows along the edges of woodlands and forests where it stretches toward the sunlight often becoming irregularly shaped and leaning with age. The tree is native to the eastern and midwestern United States. The eastern redbud has pink-lavender flowers, prominently displayed in April before the foliage emerges. The tree has alternate heart-shaped leaves and flattened pods that occur in clusters on the twigs. The sharp apex of C. canadensis leaf distinguishes it from the Judas Tree, C. siliquatrum L. which has a rounded leaf tip.
Common name: Red Bud
Scientific Name (family and order): Cercis canadensis L. (Fabaceae, Fabales)
Species Origin: North America
New Jersey Status: USDA Native
Habit: Usually a small tree with the trunk dividing close to the ground forming a broadly spreading, flat topped rounded crown; 33’ tall.
Habitat: Zone 4 – 9; moist woods, draught tolerant but short-lived tree.
Trunk/Stem: Bark dark, gray-brown to black
Leaves: Deciduous, Simple, Alternate. Leaves emerge with the flowers. The leave is heart shaped, 4” long and 4 ¼” wide; heart-shaped at base; apex attenuate; margins smooth; bronze initially becoming bright green and smooth above; smooth and hairy beneath; venation palmate at the base; sometimes turning yellow in autumn.
Flowers: Perfect. Pea-like, 3/8” long, pink, born in clusters of 4-8, fascicled or racemose, on pedicels (1/2” long) along the old shoots and often from the main branch and trunk. Flowers have 5 unequal petals They blossom in spring to early summer as the leaves emerge.
Fruits and seeds: A flattened pod, true legume, 3” long, green becoming pink ripening to brown. Pod contains 6- 12 flat, brown seeds. Fruit often persists throughout the winter.