Western Redbud (Cercis occidentals)

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This page last updated on 04/08/2018
(Fig. 01)

Picture Notes There were two of these trees on the trail to the Calico Tank in the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. As best I can ascertain it was a Redbud (Cercis). Unfortunately it was till a little early in the spring and they were only just beginning to bud. Click here for information about this hike ... Calico Tank Hike (RRCNCA).
Description: Redbud (Cercis), is a genus containing 20 taxa overall. Redbud trees are native to warm temperate regions. They can grow as small deciduous trees or large shrubs, depending on their environment. The species of Redbud can be characterized by simple, rounded to heart shaped leaves and pinkish red flowers. These are borne in the early spring on bare leafless shoots. Full-grown Western redbud typically stay below 10 feet tall. It is most often grown as a small, multi-trunked tree. The silvery-gray branches contrast beautifully with pink flowers in spring and purple seed pods in summer. These distinct markers create the illusion of having a twice-blooming plant. On their own in late winter, branches provide a pleasing silver silhouette. One of the first signs of spring is Western redbud’s tiny, pink, sweet-pea-shaped flowers. They cling to bare twigs and branches for several weeks before leaves come on. Leaves are rounded heart shapes, delicate at first and leathery as the season continues. They offer attractive color. Young leaf tips are fresh apple green, but darken to deep green with blue undertones as they mature. In autumn, foliage changes again to golden yellow then rust red before they fall. It ranges from California east to Utah primarily in the foothill regions. The tree often forms multi trunked colonies that are covered in bright pink flowers in early spring (February thru March). White-flowered variants are in cultivation. It buds only once a year.