The Magnificent Redbud
If you have been out and about recently, you’ve no doubt seen the magnificent redbuds, now in full bloom. Certainly no tree or bush in Virginia can exceed this beauty. But it’s not really clear if a redbud is a tree or a bush – it’s sort of a cross between the two. And where it got its name – who knows? It’s not red at all, it’s just beautiful.
Many plant Redbuds in yards or edges as a landscape ornamental, but the hardy bush/tree does fine on its own – growing wild along roads and highways and in the edges of forests.
The Eastern Redbud is native to North America and grows to heights of about 30 feet. A 10-year old tree will be about 15 feet tall.
The blossoms can range from light to dark magenta and are pollinated by long-tongued bees. The fruits mature in early fall in pods which are edible, as are the flowers. The green twigs from Redbuds are often used as seasonings for wild game such as venison or possum. In parts of Appalachia, the Redbuds are called Spicewood trees.
Many like to plant Redbuds, not only for their beauty, but also because they grow quickly to 10 feet. The trees thrive under most conditions but prefer a moist, well-drained location.
The Eastern Redbud is another example of the many beautiful things growing wild along our roads and by-ways.