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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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

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         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.