City Trees

May/June 2021

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40 CityTREES landscape scroll. Most plants pos- sessing these characteristics grow in the tropics. The redbud's flowers show pink on brown or black bark, recalling poet Ezra Pound's famous line, "petals on a wet black bough." After flowering, the tree produces heart-shaped leaves, green and lustrous in summer, that are 3 to 5 inches (7.6 to 12.7 cm) long and wide. After that come seed- pods, primarily late in the season and occasionally overwintering. Cercis is small and low branching, with a rounded crown of 20 to 35 feet (7.6 to 10.7 m) in height and width. Acid or high pH soils, moist or dry, are hospitable, and it can flourish in full or partial shade. It is featured in Zones 4-9. Cultivars include 'Forest Pansy', 'Ruby Falls', and the white-petaled 'Alba', which looks great among a grouping of pink. One thing is for sure: in springtime you will see these little trees flaunting their stuff for a very brief time, propagating by the side of highways, or contained primly in domesticated front yards. Annual redbud festivals take place in Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin, and the pink explosion of petals was honored in 1937 by its adop- tion as the state tree of Oklahoma. At these festivals the fairgoers could take a break from corndogs to consume salads decorated with Cercis blossoms. They are deliciously edible and can be tossed over organic mixed greens with sesame vinaigrette. A young 'Alba' tree. Photo from CWPD Mature redbud in highly urbanized setting. Photo from CWPD Redbud foliage. Photo by Ethan M. Dropkin from CWPD Persistent redbud seedpods. Photo from CWPD

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