National Champion Western Redbud (Cercis occidentalis)
Reddish-purple buds erupt into rosy pink blossoms, covering the branches and trunk of the redbud. What a beautiful sign spring has arrived!
February’s Big Tree featured in the Davey’s 2017 calendar is a 45-feet tall Western Redbud (Cercis occidentalis) growing in Santa Rosa CA. This national champion is twice the average height for this type of tree.
Both the eastern and western redbuds provide multiple seasons of interest. The buds and flowers brighten the spring landscape and attract hummingbirds and butterflies. The blue-green leaves of the western redbud and green heart shaped leaves of the eastern redbud turn yellow in the fall.
Birds love the seeds found in the peapod-like fruit and the bark and overall shape provide year-round interest.
Settlers and Native Americans ate the seeds, used the bark as medicine and the branches for weaving baskets and making bows.
A bit more information: The Eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis) grows best in full sun or light shade. It adapts to a variety of soils, but will not tolerate excessively wet or dry conditions. The western redbud is more drought tolerant.