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Eastern Redbud

Eastern Redbud

Family Fabaceae

Cooked vegetable, salad, pickle. Flowers, buds, and young pods can be sautéed for 10min. Flowers can also be added fresh to salads. Flowerbuds can be pickled.


Growth Form: Small tree

Leaves: 6-11cm (2.25-4.5in), alternate, heart-shaped, tip with short point, smooth leaf blade, fanned venation, long petioles, pulvini.

Leaves (Hannah Ramer. Brandeis University)

Pulvini (Hannah Ramer. Brandeis University) Pulvini (the swelling at the base of the leafstalk)

Flowers: 12mm (0.5in), usually pink or purplish, pealike. Blooms March through May, before leaves appear.

Fruits: pods, pink turning black, flattish, 6-8cm (2.5-3.25in) long.

Buds: Leaf buds are dark and 2-scaled. Flowerbuds have stalks and are many-scaled.

Bark: Dark gray or brownish, smooth becoming furrowed.

Habitat and Range

Mesic soils, especially in valleys and on slopes. Found from parts of Nebraska to New Jersey south to Florida and Texas.


The flowerbuds and flowers should be harvested in early spring, and the pods in early summer.

Fun Facts

Redbud is not known to grow nitrogen-fixing bacteria, although most of the other species in its family are.

The roots can be used to make a red dye.

Bark ((Hannah Ramer. Brandeis University)

The Eastern Redbud is also known as “Judas-tree.” According to myth Judas Iscariote hanged himself on a tree of the same genus, and thereafter the flowers turned from white to red with shame or blood.

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