The Redbud tree is a deciduous ornamental tree that grows in North and Central America and is attractive to butterflies.

[Elementary School students]

Did you know?

This tree is named from a weaver’s shuttle.
The Genus name comes from the Greek word kerkis meaning weaver’s shuttle because the seed pod like a weaver’s shuttle.

What part of the tree is edible?

The flowers are said to be edible.

Native Americans used this tree for medicine.
Native Americans boiled the bark to make tea and to treat whooping cough.

What insects and birds used this tree for food?

The Henry’s Elfin Butterfly (Callophyrus henrici) and hummingbirds utilize The Eastern Redbud tree for nectar. Honeybees use the flowers for pollen.


[Middle School students]

Habitat (where it likes to live)

Well drained soils in full sun and shaded areas
Location: Eastern and central North America  (Zone 4 to 8)

Requirements (what it needs to live)

Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Ornamental Tree, Street Tree, Rain Garden and Natural Areas

Identification (what it looks like)

One of the first trees to send out flowers in the spring
Fruit is a 2 to 3 inch long peapod
Clusters of flowers or ‘buds’ that bloom before the leaves come out:

[High School students]

Habit (how it grows)

Height: 20 to 30 feet
Spread: 20 to 35 feet
Bloom: Spring (March - April)
Flowers: Pink - Purple 
Seeds: 2 to 4” long pea-pods
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Tolerate: Wet Soil, Air Pollution

Clusters of flowers

Suggested Use (where to plant it):

Residences – In people’s yards
Rain Gardens – To look good and help shade other plants
Parks – Seth Hand Park
Wooded areas – Natural plantings
Streets: Street trees under utility lines


  1. Missouri Botanic Garden –
  2. NC State –
  3. Wikipedia -