Scientific name: Cercis canadensis (and other Cercis species)
Abundance: plentiful
What: open flowers, young seedpods
How: flowers raw or cooked, young seedpods cooked
Where: often landscaped or wild
When: flowers spring, young seedpods after flowers
Nutritional Value: Flowers contain assorted vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Seeds have protein.

Leaf Arrangement: The leaves are alternately arranged along the stems.

Leaf Shape: Redbud leaves are typically heart-shaped or broadly ovate.

Leaf Venation: Leaves exhibit palmate venation.

Leaf Margin: The leaf margin is smooth or slightly undulating.

Leaf Color: The upper side of the leaves is green, while the underside may have a lighter color.

Flower Structure: The flowers are simple and bloom in clusters, each with five petals. The diameter of each flower is approximately 0.5 inches. They emerge directly from the branches. 

Flower Color: Redbud flowers can range in color from pink to purple, creating a vibrant display.

Fruit: The fruit is a flat, legume-like pod, typically brown and about 2 to 4 inches long.

Seed: Seeds are contained within the pods, usually small, round, and brown.

Bark: The bark is smooth and brown when the tree is young, developing slight furrows with age.

Hairs: All parts are hairless.

Height: Redbud trees typically reach a height of 20 to 30 feet.

Redbud in bloom

Edible flowers

Close-up of open flowers and closed flower buds.

Edible seed pods

Redbud leaves

Texas distribution, attributed to U. S. Department of Agriculture. The marked counties are guidelines only. Plants may appear in other counties, especially if used in landscaping.

North American distribution, attributed to U. S. Department of Agriculture.

Often used as a landscaping plant, Redbuds can be found more often in urban/suburban locations but they can also be found in the wild. They are unmistakable in the early spring when the are sheathed in a cover of purple flowers and no leaves.

The flowers of redbud trees are wonderfully tasty with a fresh, slightly sweet flavor. The opened flowers are sweeter than ones still closed up in a bud. They add a wonderful dash of color to salads and other dishes.

The young seedpods, while still purple in color, can be used as peapods raw or better yet in stir-frys. They mature quickly and become become stringing, tough, and somewhat bitter. They can be frozen when still tender but blanch them in boiling water first.

Buy my book! Outdoor Adventure Guides Foraging covers 70 of North America's tastiest and easy to find wild edibles shown with the same big pictures as here on the Foraging Texas website.

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