Plant Characteristics:

  • Tree: up to 30 ft tall
  • Blooms: April-May
  • Flowers: fuchsia to pink pea-like
  • Leaves: deciduous, alternate, simple and heart shaped
  • Fruit type: legume 3.5 in long
  • Fall Foliage: yellow

Additional Details:

  • Add flowers and flower buds to salads for added color. Although slightly bitter, they are high in vitamin C.
  • The buds, flowers, and young pods can be sautéed in butter (approx. 10 mins) and eaten.
  • Once used for diarrhea and dysentery.

Redbuds have an adaptation called cauliflory meaning “stem flower”. Flowers and fruit develop directly from trunks and woody  branches. This adaptation is more prevalent in the tropics. Examples include: papaya, fig, and cacao (chocolate). 

References:
Brown, R. and M. Brown. 1972. Woody Plants of Maryland. Port City Press, Baltimore, MD.
Foster, S. and J. Duke. 1990. A field guide to medicinal plants of Eastern and Central North America. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, MA.
Grimm, W. C. and J. Kartesz. 2002. The Illustrated Book of Trees. Stackpole Books. Mechanicsburg, PA.
Harris, J. and M. Woolf Harris. 1994. Plant Identification Terminology: An illustrated Glossary. Spring Lake Publishing, Spring Lake, UT.
Peterson, L. 1977. A field guide to edible wild plants of Eastern and Central North America. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, MA.
Virginia Department of Forestry. 2022. Common Native Trees of Virginia – Tree Identification Guide.