- Scientific name: Cercis canadensis 'Forest Pansy'
- Family: Fabaceae (pea, bean, legume)
Tall shrub or small tree with a 'bushy' habit, up to 14m tall. Leaves broadly heart-shaped, dark red-purple. Flowers crimson or lilac in clusters of two to eight. Fruits flattened, oblong and sometimes glaucous (with a waxy grey-bluish bloom, like some Brassicas, eg cabbage or kale). Pollinated by long-tongued bees, such as blueberry bees and carpenter bees.
- Native Americans ate raw or boiled flowers of the wild relative of this tree, as well as roasted seeds. They also used the wood for their bows.
- Early European settlers in North America ate the flowers in salads.
Where it grows
The redbud is native to southern Ontario in Canada and north-east US, occasionally down as far as northern Florida. It thrives in well-drained, nitrogen-rich soil and requires a lot of sunlight.