The Eastern Redbud: A Close Look

The flowers that bloom in Eliza Howell Park in May include the Eastern Redbud, a small tree that is scattered at or near the edge of the wooded areas outside the road loop.



The Redbud is only 20 – 30 feet tall at maturity, a size that makes it easy to get close-up looks. The flowers appear before the leaves and line the stems, and sometimes the trunk, in clusters. 


The flower is not really red, more like a dark pink or perhaps magenta (I am not good at identifying colors beyond the original 8 that were in my crayon box when I was a child).

The flowers are pea-shaped, a shape that means, according to studies, Redbuds cannot be pollinated by most bees; only those with longer tongues can reach the nectar.


Less attention is usually paid to Redbuds in the fall, when 2 – 4 inch seedpods appear. One seedpod from last fall is still present and visible in this picture.


Redbuds, often planted as ornamentals, are native to eastern North America. Their natural range extends only as far north as Detroit.


         Map copied from Wikipedia article

Other flowering shrubs and small trees (such as crabapple and honeysuckle) will soon be blooming in the park. This week the Redbud gets my attention.