Eastern Redbud
Cercis canadensis
Fabaceae (Pea/Legume) Family

Eastern Redbud is also known as Judas-tree and Redbud.

Plant is a tree with a short trunk, rounded crown of spreading branches, and pink flowers that cover the twigs in early spring. Height is usually no more than 40 feet with a trunk diameter of about eight inches. Preferred habitat is moist soils of valleys, slopes and hardwood forest. Distribution is throughout the Escambia region.

The leaves are two to four inches long, equally as broad, heart-shaped in form, with a broad short point; long-stalked. The color is dull green above, paler and sometimes hairy beneath; becomes yellow in autumn.

Flowers are about 1/2 inch long, pea-shaped, with five slightly unequal purplish-pink petals (rarely white). There will be four to eight flowers in a cluster, each on a slender stalk. Flowers occur in the spring before the leaves emerge.

Fruit is an oblong pod that contains several bean-like, flat dark brown seeds.

The tree/shrub is very showy in early spring when the leafless twigs are covered with masses of pink flowers. Eastern Redbud is often planted as an ornamental. The flowers can be eaten as a salad or fried in fritters. According to myth, Judas Iscariot hanged himself on the related Judas-tree (C. siliquastrum), after which the white flowers turned red with shame.

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