An eye-catching sign of spring, our native eastern
redbud, Cercis canadensis, blooms cheerfully from a reddish-purple
bud to a rosy-pink to purple blossom in late March and early April on moist,
well-drained soils often at the woodland edges. In its native distribution
range from New Jersey to Florida, west to Texas and north to Nebraska, it
can often be identified by its uniquely colored blossoms even from great
distances or at highways speeds. On close inspection, its heart shaped
leaves, zig zag twigs and colorful, edible blossoms are clear identifying
characteristics. In the right conditions eastern redbud will typically grow
to 20’ to 30’ feet tall with a spread of 25’ to 35’ feet, adapting to most
conditions except consistent wet soils. We have a nice cluster of seedling
redbuds being grown on Chapel Field by South Gate. There are currently four
species of Cercis on our campus at The University of Maryland –
College Park: Cercis canadensis, C. chinensis, C.
reniformis, and C. glabra. To date we have 135 Cercis
specimens in our Campus Tree Inventory.
Some popular cultivars of C. canadensis include:
‘Alba’- Similar growth to the straight species but flowers are white because
they lack anthocyanin pigment.
‘Appalachian Red’- Similar growth to the straight species but flower color
is more of a vibrant red.
‘Avondale’ – This is a cultivar of C. chinensis. Overall the growth
habit of this selection and species are more compact than C. canadensis
with dense flower production in a deep purple hue.