Cercis chinensis 'Don Egolf'

Common Name: Chinese redbud 
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Fabaceae
Zone: 6 to 9
Height: 10.00 to 12.00 feet
Spread: 10.00 to 12.00 feet
Bloom Time: March to April
Bloom Description: Rosy-mauve
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Flowering Tree
Flower: Showy, Good Cut
Tolerate: Deer, Black Walnut


Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Part shade is best in hot summer climates. Dislikes dry soils and heavy clays. Develops a long tap root over time, which makes transplanting of established trees difficult.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Cercis chinensis, commonly called Chinese redbud, is native to woodlands, thickets and slopes in central to southern China. This tree will grow to as much as 50' tall in its native habitat, but in cultivation in the U.S. it usually grows much smaller as an open, densely branched, multi-stemmed shrub or small tree to 8-15' tall. It is somewhat similar in appearance to Cercis canadensis which is native to eastern and central North America, except Chinese redbud has larger rose-purple flowers, glossier leaves, longer seed pods, shorter mature height, variable but usually less attractive fall color and lesser winter cold hardiness. Notwithstanding these differences, the two species can sometimes be difficult to distinguish. Clusters of tiny, rose-purple, pea-like flowers bloom profusely on the stems and branches for 2-3 weeks in early spring (March-April) before the foliage emerges. Rounded, leathery, heart-shaped green leaves (to 5" long) are attractive during the growing season. At their best, leaves will turn a respectable yellow in fall. Pendulous, flat, bean-like, seed pods (to 5” long) mature in late summer.

Genus name comes from the Greek word kerkis meaning "weaver's shuttle" in reference to the resemblance of each seed pod to a weaver's shuttle.

Specific epithet means of China.

'Don Egolf' (named after a shrub breeder from the U.S. National Arboretum) is an upright, multi-stemmed shrub with a compact growth habit that typically matures over time to 10-12' tall and as wide. It is a sterile cultivar which is noted for (a) producing abundant and impressive, shrub-covering, rosy-mauve flowers in early spring but no seed pods and (b) displaying good resistance to Botryosphaeria canker. This cultivar was introduced into commerce by the U.S. National Arboretum in 2000.


Chinese redbud seems to be less affected by the common diseases and pests of eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis).


Excellent shrub for lawns, woodland gardens, shrub borders or naturalized areas. Effective planted as a specimen or in groups. Frequently planted as a street shrub/tree in residential areas. Large containers or tubs.