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Eastern Redbud Tree

Cercis canadensis

(Order, Fabales. Family, Fabaceae)

Diagnosis: It is a tree that is 10-30 feet tall with a trunk diameter of 13-20 cm.  The branches form a broad, flat, crown that is low and bushy.  Bark is red-brown with deep cracks and a scaly surface.  The leaves are alternate and simple. They are five to 0.10 centimeters long with a heart shape. They are dark green on the top surface and paler below.  They turn bright yellow in fall.  The petioles are thin and enlarged at the base.  The flowers appear with the leaves.  The flowers are 12mm long.  They have dark red petals.  There is one pistol and 10 stamens.  The fruit is a brown, stalked seed pod that is 5-10cm long with pointed ends.  The pods contain 8 to 12 hard, brown, seeds.

Notes:  The European redbud, Cercis siliquastrum, is called the "Judas-tree" in the Mediterranean region

Conservation status: Not threatened

Native status: Native to the United States

Flowering Period: March through April.  I am going to keep an eye on this tree.  It is one of the first trees to flower in this area.  It may actually begin to flower earlier in the year.

Habitat: The borders of streams and often in the shade of other trees.  Often found in yards as an ornamental tree.  They are inexpensive to purchase.



Laun, H. Charles. The Natural History Guide. Alton Illinois: Alsace, 1967.

Mohler, J.C. Trees in Kansas. Topeka Kansas: Kansas Board of Agriculture, 1928.

A Poem:  

Not My Judas

You are my bud,

Ol ‘ beautiful redbud

I cannot bear the air,

Of the Bradford pear.

So beautiful and pink,

Without that terrible stink!

You two, first to bloom

To break the long winter gloom

It is just the start

You must be smart

Watch for that snow

To cover your pink glow.

You are all around town,

And the summer makes your pods brown

You are friend,

Because you signal the end,

Spring is just around the bend.

By Scott Ross



Submitted by Scott Ross, July 2012.

Wichita State University
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