April 20, 2020
The eastern redbud tree is nature’s cheerleader

by Mary Reid Barrow

The redbuds stunning lavender-purple flowers arrive in  early spring as if to cheer the season on.

 The pretty little tree must be the envy of  its peers. The redbud has got it all– striking blooms in spring,  perfect  green heart-shaped leaves in summer  and golden-yellow leaves in fall.

 Oddly, the redbud is named for tiny buds that start out red, even though game time doesnt begin until the red buds open into  stunning lavender-purple flowers.  The flowers bloom in little clusters and then leave interesting long flat seed pods behind.  

Recently Susan Ippolito, a volunteer with Lynnhaven River NOW,  was walking her dog on the Princess Anne Country Club Golf Course and redbuds were blooming along the way. 

Ippolito noticed some were flowering in an unusual way  and she  posted a photo of the odd rebuds  on her FaceBook page:

 “I love how this tree on the golf course gets these beautiful flowers all over the trunk!” Ippolito wrote

 Turns out redbud is one of few non-tropical plants that  sometimes send out blooms directly from the trunk or stems of older wood.  This unusual growth habit  is called cauliflory.

 In the forest,  the redbud grows as a small understory tree.  But it’s like a big shining star in the suburban landscape.  Growing  only 15 to 35 feet tall, the redbud is a  great small tree for homeowners. 

They can look forward to their cheerleader not only in its  spring splendor but as it continues to shine each season  with green summer hearts and  golden fall leaves.

Who could ask for anything more in a tree?

Do you have a favorite tree, a secret tree grove or neighborhood climbing tree that you love?  Let me know your  stories about trees,  the critters who live in them and the insects that dine on them.  Send an email to  You also can sign up below to get notified when my blog comes out



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