A small understory tree up to 30 feet, with a short, twisted trunk and upright or spreading branches, forming a low, irregular crown. A member of the Pea Family, also known as the Judas Tree (because its flowers blushed pink for shame presumably because its flowers were initially white) and Red-Bud. Best known for its showy, pink colorful spring flowers; occasionally eaten in salads. In Mexico, the blooms are fried and eaten as a delicacy. It has little commercial value but is a prized ornamental tree. Historically used to treat dysentery.
3-5 “, round to heart shaped leaves, thin and papery. Green top, paler underleaf.
Initially smooth and brown, later ridged and furrowed to scaly and dark gray. May have maroon patches with orange in cracks.
Slender and zig-zag, with spotted pores. Chestnut in color, buds are round and in clusters.
Fruit pods are flattened, brown, bunches 2-4” long with brown seeds, ¼” long maturing in late summer.
Bisexual, showy flowers, pea like, pink to fuchsia, ½” long, in clusters in early spring before leaves.