Friday, March 16, 2012

Redbud in full bloom

Like many flowering shrubs, Western redbud (Cercis occidentalis) looks fairly plain most of the year, but for a few weeks in the spring, it’s a head turner. Right now, the greenbelt near our house—and many yards in town—is a riot of magenta. The rain we’ve been having for a couple of days makes the color pop even more.

Here are the photos I came back with when I grabbed my camera and dashed out into the noontime drizzle. I love how the redbud stands out both against the California buckeyes that have already leafed out and against the majestic oaks that are still bare. In my book, there are few shrubs can can compete with Western redbud when it comes to spring color!

Great contrast with bare valley oak (Quercus lobata)
Western redbud is a popular landscaping shrub in our area
It is native to the Sierra foothills and coastal ranges of California where it grows on dry slopes
The leaves are heart-shaped
This specimen has barely started to leaf out,,,
…while this one is in full bloom
Seed pods left over from last fall
Do flowers get any more magenta than this?
Redbud flowers have always reminded me of lupines, and I just found out that they are actually related: both are in the pea family (Fabaceae)
Bees are crazy about these flowers although on this drizzly day I didn’t see any
Redbud against a fully leafed out California buckeye (Aesculus californica)
What a great color against the green of the grass and the brown of the bare oak trunks
A perfectly shaped specimen
I’m glad to see so many redbuds planted in our subdivision

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