Redbud – Cercis canadensis
The redbud tree is both an ornamental and a flowering tree. The tree is native to eastern and central North America and is Oklahoma's state tree. It is often used in landscapes for its beauty. The trees draw in several species of early-season butterflies. Northern bobwhites and songbirds, such as chickadees, will eat the tree's seeds. These trees also provide shade for birds and mammals.
The redbud tree grows in hardiness zones 4-9. Redbuds can grow in alkaline, moist, acidic, rich, well-drained, loamy, sandy, and clay soils. The tree does best in full or partial sunlight. Redbuds require at least four hours of direct unfiltered sunlight each day to thrive.
The tree grows in a rounded vase shape. Redbuds grow to be 20 to 30 feet high with a spread of 25 to 35 feet at maturity. These trees grow at medium speed, growing 13 to 24 inches in height each year. Redbuds often have more than one trunk, and they have irregular branching and a rounded crown.
Redbuds begin flowering at a young age, sometimes as early as four years old. The tree blooms gorgeous rose-purple flowers in spring (March to April) before the tree's foliage appears. The flowers measure up to ½ inch and bloom in groups of four to 10. Following the flowers, flattened leguminous bean-like dry seedpods emerge and become brown by summer. The seedpods measure two to four inches in length. Each seedpod contains six to 12 seeds, and the pods may remain on the tree into winter.
The leaves of a redbud tree have a papery texture and are somewhat heart-shaped, measuring two to six inches in length. The leaves emerge a reddish color, turn dark green by summertime, and turn yellow in the fall.
The redbud tree is low maintenance and easy to care for. They are typically sold as two to four foot trees that can be transplanted into yards and gardens.