The redbud, a North American specimen tree, is noted for its reddish-purple flowers. See more pictures of trees.

The redbud tree is native to eastern North America and is striking in wooded areas where its reddish-purple flowers grow, closely and tightly aligned on slender stems, before the leaves unfold in spring. The distinctly heart-shaped green leaves are six inches across. It is a graceful and small tree, with spreading, slightly drooping branches. Height at maturity is approximately 20 to 30 feet.

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How to grow: Plant young trees in the spring in well-drained soil in sun or partial shade. Thin upper branches if lower ones are struggling from lack of light under a dense canopy.

Uses: An easy and attractive choice as a single specimen or in groups. Select the flowering trees from your own region because the hardiness varies with trees originating in more northern or more southern locations.

Related species: Cercis chinensis is similar in form but is smaller (ten feet) and a little showier in flower.

Scientific name: Cercis canadensis


Want more information? Try these:

  • Fruit Trees. These memorable trees allow sunlight to trickle through to nourish the fruit, and can adorn many a yard.
  • Flowering Trees. Standing along, these trees make a strong visual impact. With strong leaves and vivid flowers, they're interesting all year long.
  • Shade Trees. Towering overhead, shade trees can complement even the biggest house, and define the amount of sunlight that reaches your yard.