April Flora Spotlight:
This is a favorite season here in the mountains. In addition to several dozen spring wildflowers blooming along the Crayton Trail here in the Botanical Gardens, the spring flowering trees should not be missed.
Among the most striking is the Eastern Redbud. In the Fabaceae (legume) family, it is one of the first trees to bloom in spring. Small pea-like rose pink flowers emerge directly on the branches and stems, a phenomenon called cauliflory. These delicate flowers are edible. Deep green 3-6 inch heart shaped leaves emerge after the blooms fall. Flat fruiting seed pods develop in the summer and turn brown when ripe. The immature pods can be stir fried and eaten.
Eastern Redbud is a rapidly growing but small tree, reaching heights of 25-35 feet tall, however in most urban situations it is more likely to reach a height of about 15 feet. The tiered and slightly irregular branching forms an overall rounded habit. Grown in full sun or partial shade this native is adaptable to a range of soil conditions, but itís happiest in moist, well-drained soil.
The bright spring floral display and compact habit makes this a tree well suited for most gardens. Often used as a focal point in the landscape, the dense habit and medium texture of the Eastern Redbud also does well in groupings and naturalized areas of the landscape.
Whatís not to like about Eastern Redbuds? The tree is a host plant for the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Mouse Moth,. It hosts spectacular spring blooming flowers.l It is easy to care. It provides edible flowers and fruiting pods.
Come to the Gardens this spring and witness the miracle of spring!