Western Redbud: “A tree with year-round interest!”

Why is the Western redbud (Cercis occidentalis) the best tree ever? Maybe it’s because at this time of year, redbuds are the focal point of any garden lucky enough to have them. This native Californian is a small tree (15–20’ x 15–20’) and does well in most any kind of soil, as long as it is well-drained.

In the late winter and early spring, when most everything else is still dormant and waiting to bud, the red bud has spectacular magenta flowers that are delicate and yet very resilient to cold, wet days. The flowers are followed summer through winter by magenta-tinted “pea pods.”

The redbud likes sun to partial shade and it’s usually a multi-trunk tree with smooth silvery bark. Round leaves with a tiny notch in the tip turn yellow in fall. A tree with year-round interest!


Photos: Bob Sussman (left), Stan Shebs (right)

By Lisa Cahill

Lisa Cahill first began her work with TreePeople as a volunteer Citizen Forester. She currently serves on the board of directors for the reDiscover Center, continues to volunteer as a Citizen Forester, has been on the Mar Vista Green Garden Tour and serves on several green committees at her church and children's schools. She most enjoys working in the garden with her husband, watching her children and vegetables grow.