April: Redbud

Redbuds are one of the most beloved spring blooming trees. And it deserves it! This small, native tree lights up the spring landscape and forests across the Midwest with a brilliant display of deep pink buds that erupt into a light purplish pink mass of blooms.

Redbud trees are members of the bean family, which may seem odd. If you look at their seeds, they come in bean-like pods, but that's not the most important feature placing them in the bean family. All members of this family have associations with bacteria in their roots that make them much more efficient than other plants at drawing nitrogen from the soil. This allows them to thrive in soils that might be too poor for other plants. Since redbuds are native to central Indiana, they also support a wide range of insects, birds, and other wildlife that help build a rich local ecosystem

Common Name: Redbud
Scientific Name: Cercis canadensis
Notable Varieties: 'Forest Pansy' (purple leaves), 'Alba' (white flowers), 'Appalachian Red' (buds and flowers are more pink, less purple than others), 'Lavender Twist' (weeping habit with twisting branches)
Size: 15-30' tall, 20-35' wide
Soil: tolerates clay soil and poor fertility
Blooms: dark pink or purple buds open to lighter pink or purple flowers in mid-spring
Other Notes: can be planted under black walnut, attracts pollinators, native species

See other plants of the month.

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