Cercis occidentalis (western redbud)

DSCN1193Cercis occidentalis is a shrub in the pea family.  Like most pea flowers, they are described as papillonaceaous because the broad upper petal is reminiscent of a ‘papillon’ (French for butterfly).  In a pollinator-friendly configuration, this upper petal attracts insects, while the lower petals act as landing pads and protect  the stamens and stigma.

Redbud’s magenta flowers are first to emerge in the spring, followed by broad reniform (kidney-shaped) or cordate (heart-shaped) leaves.  In the photo below, new leaves are just beginning to emerge atop the inflorescence.  When in fruit, this species will produce pods that are several inches long.   

  • Species: Cercis occidentalis
  • Plant Family: Fabaceae (pea family)
  • Where I saw it: In foothill chaparral, High Trestle Trail, Lassen National Forest

Leave a comment

Filed under Botany Primer, Flora

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s