Cercis canadensis var. texensis
Common Name: Texas redbud
Type: Tree
Family: Fabaceae
Native Range: Texas, Oklahoma, Mexico
Zone: 6 to 9
Height: 15.00 to 20.00 feet
Spread: 15.00 to 20.00 feet
Bloom Time: April
Bloom Description: Pink to purple-red
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Flowering Tree
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Good Fall
Tolerate: Deer, Black Walnut

Culture

Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Plants perform best in moderately fertile soils with regular and consistent moisture. Avoid wet or poorly drained soils. Since this tree does not transplant well, it should be planted when young and left undisturbed.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Cercis canadensis, commonly called eastern redbud, is a deciduous, often multi-trunked understory tree with a rounded crown that typically matures to 20-30’ tall with a slightly larger spread. It is particularly noted for its stunning pea-like rose-purple flowers which bloom profusely on bare branches in early spring (March-April) before the foliage emerges. This tree is native to eastern and central North America from Connecticut to New York to southern Ontario and the Great Lakes south to Western Texas and Florida. It is found in open woodlands, thickets, woodland margins, limestone glades and along rocky streams and bluffs throughout Missouri (Steyermark). Flowers (to ½” wide) bloom in clusters of 4-10. Flowers are followed by flattened leguminous bean-like dry seedpods (to 2-4” long) that mature to brown in summer. Each pod has 6-12 seeds. Pods may remain on the tree into winter. Alternate, simple, cordate, broadly ovate to nearly orbicular, dull green to blue-green leaves (3-5” across) have a papery texture and are short pointed at the tip. Leaves turn pale yellow to greenish-yellow in fall. Cercis canadensis is the state tree of Oklahoma.

Genus name comes from the Greek word kerkis in reference to the resemblance of seed pods to a weaver’s shuttle.

Specific epithet is in reference to Canada (southern Ontario) being part of the native range of this tree.

Var. texensis, synonymous with and formerly known as Cercis reniformis, is a variety of eastern redbud that is native to Oklahoma and Texas. It typically has a shrubbier, more compact form than the straight species with a mature height of 15-20’ tall. It differs from the straight species by having (1) slightly more drought tolerance, (2) darker and brighter wine red buds and flowers, (3) glossier, thicker, broader and darker green leaves often with a more reniform (kidney-shaped) outline, (4) leaf apices that are rounded or blunt (not pointed) and (5) winter hardiness to USDA Zone 6 (species to Zone 4).

Problems

Canker can be a significant disease problem. Verticillium wilt, dieback, leaf spots, mildew and blights may also occur. Insect pests include Japanese beetles, tree hoppers, leaf hoppers, caterpillars, borers, webworms and scale. Keeping the tree vigorous by regular watering and fertilization and by pruning out dead branches as needed will help keep the tree healthy.

Garden Uses

Specimen or small groups. Lawns, shrub borders, woodland margins, or along patios. Street tree or lawn tree. Attractive in naturalized settings.