Cercis canadensis L.

Eastern Redbud




Family: Leguminosae

Genus: Cercis

Category: Tree - Deciduous

Zones: 4 to 9

Size: 20 to 30' tall with greater width.

Growth Rate: Moderate

Exposure: Sun, Filtered Sun, Part Shade


Small tree with a broad, round head. Alternate heart-shaped leaves (3 to 5") and zig-zag stems. Rosy pink flowers in clusters along the stems in early spring for 2 to 3 weeks, particularly noticeable because they precede the leaves. Produces long brown seedpods in clusters which can be ugly in autumn. Prefers moist, well-drained soil. May also self-seed.

Propagate by seed - cuttings are very difficult - scarify and then 60 to 90 days stratification.

Legume - so manufactures nitrogen.

May be short-lived - 20 years.


'Hearts of Gold' PP#17,740 - golden new leaves turning to chartreuse. Afternoon shade helps prevent leaf scorch. Good soil moisture necessary. Discovered by Jan Roethling.

'Forest Pansy' PP#2,556 - deep red-purple foliage slowly changing to purple-green in the summer.

'Covey' Lavender Twist™ PP#10328 - weeping form with contorted stems, needs staking to get a trunk.

'Silver Cloud' - variegated foliage


First published in Sp. Pl. 1: 374 in 1753. Habitat in Virginia.

Native to eastern and central US and Mexico, including South Carolina and Georgia.

Introduced in 1730 to the UK but cultivated in the US from 1641.

'Canadensis' = Canadian but was also used by early writers to refer to eastern North America.


Sources of Information

© 2010-12 Lisa J. Miner