By Barbara Boone, Mobile County Master Gardener
A harbinger of spring is the redbud, Cercis canadensis, which can be a large shrub or small tree. Redbuds are native to the eastern part of North America (zones 4-9) and as far west and north as the Michigan region and southwest into New Mexico and parts of Mexico. Redbuds are described as papilionaceous which means a cluster of flowers. The rose-to-purple colored flowers have fascicles so the flowers appear near the axis of leaves or along a branch, and sometimes on the trunk. Redbud appreciates full sun or partial shade and likes a humid but well-drained environment.
Along with other early bloomers such as forsythia and Japanese tulip trees, redbuds announce to Mobile “Hello, Spring!”