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Redbud tree - Cercis canadensis
Redbud tree (cercis canadensis)is native to eastern North America from southern Ontario Canada to northern Florida. It can as far west as California. Redbud tree is actually a large deciduous shrub, or small tree. Redbud trees typicall grow 20-30 feet tall with a 26 to 33 foot spread. Redbud trees have a short twisted trunk and spreading branches. The bark is smooth and dark in color; later it can become scaley. The Redbud twigs are nearly black in color and often slender and zigzag. Leaves are heartshaped, thin and papery; they are also typically 3-4.5 inches long and wide. Redbud trees have tiny winter buds that can range from dark red to chestnut in color. From Spring to early Summer the tree will sprout light to dark magenta colored flowers. These flowers appear in clusters on bare stems before the leaves sprout. In southern parts of Appalachia the redbud tree is also referred to as the spicewood tree because the green twigs of the redbud are used in seasoning wild game. The redbud tree is commonly referred to as the harbinger of spring since it is one of the first flowering shrubs of the season. It is commonly grown in hardiness zones 4-9. It is considered both a flowering tree and an ornamental tree. It is usually planted for its production of spring flowers and it's visual interest. The redbud grows at a medium rate of growth; typically about 13"-24" per year in height. It prefers a minimum of four hours of direct unfiltered sunlight each day which makes it acceptable for full sun or partial shade. Redbud trees will grow best in acidic, alkaline, moist, rich, loamy, sandy, well drained and clay soils. The early seasons blooms attract certain types of nector seeking insects such as butterflies and the redbud attacts many varieties of song birds looking for nesting trees. In 1937 the Redbud tree was chosen as the Oklahoma state tree.