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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Cercis canadensis 'Forest Pansy' - Forest Pansy Redbud

Okay, one more purple leaved tree. I though I had already covered the redbud but must of missed that one. The cultivar Forest Pansy is a nice variation on the species and differs in having very dark purple leaves. I like this tree. We had room for one small tree and this is what choose. (I have also become a ruthless gardener, in our small space if something doesn't work its out of here, so well see.) This is ours.

And eventually this is what we will see while sitting under the tree.

The redbuds are small multi-stemmed trees or large shrubs and are found in nature as understory trees. With age they develop into somewhat of a flat topped tree. They vary in height and spread but Forest Pansy seems to top out about 20' though 15 is not uncommon. They are usually about as wide as they are tall.

The foliage emerges a very dark shiny purple after the flowers. They are alternate, almost round in shape with entire margins, the base is heart-shaped, or cordate. 

As I have mentioned elsewhere, trees in the legume family have funny swellings on the leaves and these are at the base of the leaf blade where it attaches to the petiole.

Large quantities of small pink pea-like flowers open before the foliage emerges. I don't think this variety blooms as well as the species. Pictured below is a grove of the species in spring at Mississippi State Univ. campus.

So I am cheating a bit here, these are actually C. siliquastrum flowers but they look just like C. canadensis

Fruit is a persistant pea-pod, 2-3" long and very thin.

Stems are reddish-brown, zig zaging and the bark is slightly broken up into small plates.

Fall color is a bonus. The species has yellow fall color and when you mix in some purple you get some really nice shades of reds.

Misidentification: If there are leaves not likely. If in bloom, well you may not know the leaves are purple but you will not mistake a redbud in bloom for anything other than another redbud. Cercis occidentals is our native redbud and is almost always smaller and seriously more multi-stemmed, almost suckery. You will see lots of our native along highway 1.

everywhere, I will try to keep my eye open for really nice old ones.

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