This week in Eastern Kentucky, the Redbuds are putting on their spring finery, gaining a fuchsia pink glow all around the edges of each tree. It’s a very distinctive color, and right now when most of the trees and shrubs are still debating whether spring is truly here or not, the Redbuds are a truehighlight in the woods.
Redbud flowers are edible! I found this.out while doing a spring bird watching your at Carter Caves State Park, down the road near Olive Hill, Kentucky. The tree is classified in the family that includes sweet peas, so it’s actually a legume like a pea. “Cercis canadensis” may or may not have the ability to fix nitrogen into the soil like most plants in this family, I found that different sources disagree.
Another fun fact about the Redbud is that the flowers actually form on the branches and the trunks of the trees! Scientists call it “cauliflory”, and the Latin term translates as “stem-flower”. Each flower leaves a tiny bump behind it on the trunk or branch, and the older the tree gets, the bumper its stems will become. Few plants use this strategy in the temperate zones – most of the “stem-flowering” plants are found in tropical forests.
The Redbud is the state tree of Oklahoma, they only get between 15 and 30 feet tall, and they make a lovely background counterpoint above a bed of flowering bulbs such as daffodils, hyacinth, or tulips.
When the flowers begin to fade, the beautiful heart-shaped leaves take over, and they’re quite pretty as well! They start out pinkish red, turn green, then fade into soft golden yellow in fall. Here’s a photo of a newer leaf:
If you have some room in your yard for a small tree, I’d suggest the Redbud as a great addition. They’re tough, always love pretty, and will reward you with years of blooms and a little shade too! In the fall, they’ll reward you with a golden glow that will have your neighbors asking “What IS that tree?”
I hope you enjoyed this post about the Redbud. As always, feel free to comment, criticize, or question me at FlamingPurpleJellyfish@gmail.com
Have a lovely day!
With Grace and Gratitude,