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Weed Identification

eastern redbud

Family

Caesalpiniaceae

Scientific Name

Cercis canadensis

Other Common Names:

eastern redbud
eastern redbud
redbud

Synonyms (former Scientific Names):

Cercis occidentalis

Leaves

When mature, the alternately arranged leaves are about four inches long, four inches wide and heart shaped with prominent venation. The twigs are slender, spreading, zigzag with short or dark brown knotty spurs

Identifying Characteristics

Eastern redbud is a native, perennial, deciduous tree which grows 15 to 30 feet tall and spreads 15 to 25 feet. Older trees generally resemble a vase shape. This tree is a member of Fabaceae or pea family.Eastern redbud is usually one of the first trees to bloom in spring.Flowering occurs in March to May before leaf growth. After bloom, the leaves begin growing and gradually turn dark green.Eastern redbud occurs as scattered trees or small populations. It is an understory species in open woods and is found on moist, loam or sandy soils in valleys or bottomlands. Usually this tree is more numerous on south facing slopes with more sunlight. Eastern redbud grows on a wide range of pH; however, it grows best on soils with a pH of 7.5 or above. It is not found on inundated sites, poorly aerated soils, or coarse sands. The tree is fire tolerant and root sprouts after fire.

Flower Seed Head

Pink to reddish purple flowers are grown on old twigs, branches, and trunks

Seed Fruit

Eastern redbud produces clusters of flat green pods (~3.5 inches long, ~0.5 inches wide) that change to brown when mature. Each pod contains four to ten small hard black or brown seeds.

Where Found

Eastern redbud is found throughout the lower Great Plains and eastern United States.

Growth Habit

woody bush or tree

Thorns or Spines

not present

Approximate Flower Diameter

Varies: 
pencil
dime

Dominant Flower Color

pink

Flower Symmetry

bilateral symmetry

Leaf Hairs

Varies: 
has hairs
no hairs

Leaf Shape

heart

Leaf Arrangement

alternate

Leaf Margin

entire

Leaf Structure

simple

Leaf Stalk

shorter than leaf

Stem Hairs

no hairs

Stem Cross Section

round or oval

Milky Sap

not present

Life Cycle

perennial

Ochrea

not present

Plant Type

Tree