Scientific Name: Cercis canadensis

Common Name: eastern redbud

Other Common Names: california redbud, eastern redbud, redbud, judas tree

Synonyms: 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.

  • Life cycle: perennial

  • Milky sap: Not Present

  • Plant type: Tree

  • Thorns: Not Present

  • Plant family: Caesalpiniaceae

  • Leaf arrangement: alternate

  • Leaf shape: heart

  • Ochrea: Not Present

  • Leaf margin: entire

  • Stem hairs: no hairs

  • Flower color: pink

  • Growth habit: woody bush or tree

  • Stem: round or oval

  • Leaf structure: simple

  • Leaf hairs: no hairs; has hairs

  • Flower symmetry: bilateral symetry

  • Flower diameter: dime; pencil

  • Leaf stalk: shorter than leaf