Botanical Name: Cercis canadensis f. alba
Common Name: White American Redbud
Nativity: E. & C. North America
Notable Feature: Known for its white, pea-like flowers that bloom profusely on bare branches in late March into early April before the foliage emerges.
Habit: A deciduous, often multi-trunked, understory tree with an irregular growth habit when young forming a graceful, flat-topped, vase-shaped or globe-shaped crown as it gets older. Typically matures to around 20 to 30 feet tall with a slightly larger spread.
Flower: Bright white, perfect (bisexual) flowers emerge on bare branches and last 2 to 3 weeks. The flowers are ½” wide, borne on a ½-inch long stem, and occur in clusters of 4 to 8.
Fruit: Bean-like, green seedpods, 2 to 4” long, mature to brown in summer. Each pod has 6 to 12 seeds. Pods may remain on the tree well into winter.
Foliage: New growth a reddish-purple. The alternate, heart-shaped leaves, 3 to 5” long and wide, become a lustrous dark green in summer and turn yellow in fall.
Bark: Older bark is black to brownish black and scaly. Bark is thin and easily damaged by a mechanical blow.
Interesting Fact: This harbinger of spring is the white sheep in the red bud family. It is our native, white-flowered version of the familiar red-flowered redbud tree, Cercis canadensis. Both are members of the Pea/Legume Family, Fabaceae. The flowers of both the redbud and the white redbud are edible and look quite festive in the salad bowl.