Apr 13 2010
It’s been a spectacular year for redbud in Pittsburgh.
Eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis) is an understory tree whose flowers bloom in clusters from its leafless branches — even from its trunk. Redbud is found throughout the eastern U.S. but hardly ventures north of Mason-Dixon in Pennsylvania. Allegheny County is about as far north as it gets in the wild. (See the Comments for more on redbud’s range.)
Redbud flowers are showy and attract bees who have tongues long enough to reach its nectar. This floral strategy keeps carpenter and bumblebees very busy with a selection of complicated spring flowers: redbud, Dutchman’s breeches and Squirrel corn, to name a few.
After the flowers fade redbud’s large, heart-shaped leaves unfurl and long, bean-like seed pods form on the branches where the flowers had been. By June the tree looks odd compared to its April beauty.
Take some time to look for redbud. Right now it’s gorgeous in this too early spring.
(photo by Dianne Machesney)
And on the subject of Too Early Spring: I saw my first tent worms in Schenley Park last evening, three to four weeks earlier than they normally appear. Tentworms coincide with black-billed and yellow-billed cuckoo migration, but the birds aren’t due back until early May. Will the cuckoos have enough to eat if our tentworms are past their prime?