Field of Science

Friday Fabulous Flower - Redbuds

Redbuds are a fantastic spring flowering tree, dark-barked shrubs and small trees festooned with lacy pink flowers (and the less said about all the seedlings the better).  Redbuds are the species Cercis canadensis, a member of the legume (bean) family. Their flowering is unusual in northern temperate climes because they flower on old wood (cauliflory), which is a much more common trait in the tropics. Our gardens have about a dozen redbud trees, and presently the redbuds are competing with the crabapples and dogwoods to grab our attention. Our university campus, an official arboretum, has lots of redbuds, but for reasons to be explained, a smallish one next to our teaching glasshouse caught TPP's eye.  It was different, somehow, redder for certain (image above).  A quick comparson determined that the flowers were over twice as large as our native redbud. Ah, yes, a check in with our woody plant horticulturalist confirmed that this specimen was Cercis chinensis, Chinese redbud, a very handsome plant, but not one in the local horticultural trade, but when has that ever stopped TPP?

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