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Cercis canadensis - L.

Common Name Redbud, Eastern redbud, Mexican redbud,Texas redbud
Family Fabaceae or Leguminosae
USDA hardiness 4-9
Known Hazards The plant is reported to contain a toxic saponin[274]. Although toxic, saponins are poorly absorbed by the body and most pass straight through without any problem. They are also broken down to a large extent in the cooking process. Saponins are found in many foods, such as some beans. Saponins are much more toxic to some creatures, such as fish, and hunting tribes have traditionally put large quantities of them in streams, lakes etc in order to stupefy or kill the fish[K].
Habitats Rich woods, ravines and borders of streams[43, 82]. It often forms a distinct understorey in woodlands[229].
Range Eastern and Central N. America - New York to Florida, west to Texas and Wisconsin[222].
Edibility Rating    (3 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Cercis canadensis Redbud, Eastern redbud, Mexican redbud,Texas redbud


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Cercis canadensis Redbud, Eastern redbud, Mexican redbud,Texas redbud
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Summary

Bloom Color: Lavender, Pink, Purple.Main Bloom Time: Early spring, Late spring, Mid spring. Form: Rounded, Vase.


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of lolypop
Cercis canadensis is a deciduous Tree growing to 12 m (39ft) by 10 m (32ft) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 4 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from May to June, and the seeds ripen in October. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Bees.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid and very alkaline soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Synonyms

Habitats

Woodland Garden Secondary; Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Flowers;  Leaves;  Seedpod.
Edible Uses: Condiment.

Flowers - raw[46, 61, 94, 183] or pickled[2, 105, 149]. A nice refreshing acid taste, the flowers are rich in vitamin C and make a pleasant addition to salads[183, K]. They can also be used as a condiment[200]. The unopened buds are pickled or used as a caper substitute[183]. On a zero moisture basis, the seed contains 22.9 - 27.5% protein, 7.7 - 8.8% fat and 3% ash[218]. (This report does not say if the seed is edible[K]). There is some evidence that both the young seed pods (eaten like snow peas) and the young leaves can be eaten.

Medicinal Uses



Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Astringent;  Cancer;  Febrifuge;  Pectoral.

A tea made from the inner bark is highly astringent[46, 61, 94, 149, 222]. Used in the treatment of fevers, diarrhoea and dysentery, it is also a folk remedy for leukaemia[222]. A cold infusion of the roots and inner bark have been used to treat various chest complaints including whooping cough and congestion[257].

Other Uses

Basketry;  Wood.

The bark of young shoots is used in basket making[94, 106]. Wood - heavy, hard, not strong, close grained, takes a very fine polish[82, 94]. It weighs 40lb per cubic foot[235].

Cultivation details

Landscape Uses:Border, Standard, Specimen, Street tree, Woodland garden. Succeeds in most soils and pH types, but dislikes growing in wet soils, especially when these are of clay[200]. Prefers a deep sandy loam and a very sunny position[11, 98, 182]. Succeeds in light shade[200]. Dislikes drought[200]. Although the dormant plant is cold-hardy, the young growth in spring, even on mature plants, is frost-tender and so it is best to grow the plants in a position sheltered from the early morning sun[K]. A fast-growing but short-lived tree in the wild[229]. It does not flower freely in Britain[188]. There is at least one named form, selected for its ornamental value[188]. This spcies is the state tree of Oklahoma[274]. The flowers are produced on the branches of the previous or earlier years, and also on the trunk of the plant[82]. Plants are susceptible to coral spot fungus, especially when growing in areas with cooler summers where the wood is not fully ripened[11]. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[200]. A good bee plant[149]. Resents root disturbance, plants should be planted into their permanent positions as soon as possible, preferably in May, and should be kept well watered until established[11, 188]. This species is one of the few members of the family Leguminosae that do not fix atmospheric nitrogen[226]. Special Features:North American native, Attracts butterflies, Blooms are very showy.

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Propagation

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame[200]. Pre-soak stored seed for 24 hours in warm water then cold stratify for 3 months[113]. Sow spring in the greenhouse[78]. As soon as they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Plants resent root disturbance and are best planted out in their permanent positions as soon as possible[11]. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame[200].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Cercis chinensisChinese Redbud12
Cercis occidentalisWestern Redbud, California Redbud30
Cercis siliquastrumJudas Tree, Redbud40

 

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Expert comment

Author

L.

Botanical References

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Links / References

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Readers comment

margo   Mon Jun 9 2008

Will it(cercis canadensis) grow in a large pot on a patio?

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