Landscape Significance

The Eastern Redbud's native habitat ranges from stream bank to dry ridge, demonstrating its adaptability.

This tree is best used in naturalized areas, where the flowers are contrasted against evergreens or woodlands. It can be used as a specimen or in groupings in a shrub border.


Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis)
This photo was taken in the fall at Trident Technical College, N. Charleston, SC.

Eastern Redbud, also called Judas-tree, is a small deciduous tree native to the eastern United States. Its form is a spreading single to multi-stem tree.  Its magenta buds open to purple-pink blossoms early in spring before the leaves emerge.  The blossoms are as colorful as any flowering spring tree in the landscape. This tree is adapted to all areas of South Carolina.

Redbuds always remain small, maturing at 20 to 30 feet in height and 15 to 35 feet in width. When grown in the sun, it will be compact and rounded; when grown in shade, the form is loose, open and tall.  Irrigation may be needed in summer dry spells.

With thin bark, Canker is the most destructive disease. Insects such as treehoppers, caterpillars, scales and leafhoppers can also cause damage. Due to disease, they rarely live longer than 20 years.

Identifying characteristics

Its 4 to 8 inch-long leaves are heart-shaped with smooth margins arranged alternately .  They are reddish in the spring and gradually turn dark green in summer. Pea-like, rosy-pink flowers appear from late March to mid April.  The fruit are long, flat pods (3 inches) which are produced from late summer into fall, and remain on the tree during winter.

More information on the Eastern Redbud is available at the Clemson Home & Garden Informaton Center: Clemson HGIC - Eastern Redbud