{Almost} Wordless Wednesday :: Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis)

Posted on: May 21st, 2015 by Trillium Art


I must have known at an early age that I was destined to be a plant geek!

Every Victoria Day weekend, our small town held a party complete with a Ferris wheel, cotton candy and fireworks. However, the highlight was always the parade! Sometimes we were participants, sometimes we were observers. To watch the parade, all the neighbourhood kids would sit on the stone wall at the front of our home and cheer on the floats and the children we knew (I did mention it was a small town!). I remember vividly that each year a beautiful tree would be in bloom above us. The petals would rain down around us like pink confetti.

The Redbud tree of my childhood is no longer as a result of renovations, although another Redbud was planted nearby in its honour. Even now, when I see Redbuds in bloom there are certain tugs at my childhood memories.


A recent trip to Alabama this spring was a welcome breath of spring as we reveled in the azalea blooms, sunshine and the green flush of the trees. As we returned home, I was thrilled to see Redbuds in bloom along the side of the highways. They were naturally mixed in groups and not intentionally planted. I was intrigued to investigate the range of this stunning tree.

Even though the latin name is Cercis canadensis, meaning ‘of Canada’, it is not commonly found in the wilds of Canada. There has been trees found in the understory of forests along the northern shore of Lake Erie, specifically Point Pelee. The range of these large deciduous shrubs or small trees is eastern North America from the southern parts of Ontario to the northern areas of Florida and are sometimes found as far west as California.


We are more likely to see these trees as planted ornamentals in our landscapes. There are not many Redbuds in the Fergus-Elora area as the hardiness of the Redbud is a little too tender for our winters. The photos of this Redbud were taken in a private garden in Waterloo. This garden is quite sheltered and the tree becomes a wonderful focal point in the spring. Perhaps I can create my own rite of spring by finding a special protected spot on our new property for such a special little tree.


Zone: 6

Light Conditions: full sun to part shade

Soil Conditions: prefers moist, deep, well drained soils, protected from wind

Height and Spread: 20’ – 30’, resembling a vase shape

Flower Power: showy magenta pink clusters of flowers in May along the bare stems before the leaves appear. The pea-like flowers group together in clusters of 4-8 flowers (It is actually a member of the legume family)

Leaves: heart-shaped, blue-green leaves

Fruit: flattened, dry, brown, pea-like pods

Tips: state tree of Oklahoma, the purple, grey twigs make a lovely contrast in the winter

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