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Discover Nature: Eastern Redbud

Missouri Department of Conservation

Discover nature this week with a walk outdoors, and keep an eye out for blooming Eastern redbud trees (Cercis canadensis).

Find these small, ornamental, Missouri-native trees in woodlands, glades, and along rocky streams and bluffs, as well as in urban landscape plantings. Young trees have smooth, reddish brown to gray bark which will develop long grooves and short, thin, blocky plates as the trees grow older.

Leaves are simple, alternate, and oval to heart shaped. But before leaves emerge, small, clustered, rose-purple flowers adorn the bare branches.

The flowers are edible and can be fried, pickled or eaten raw. Bees also use the flowers as a nectar source. Several species of birds feed on redbud seeds, and white-tailed deer browse on the foliage.

Redbud blooms typically last from late march to early may, but this week is a great time to get out and see their first show of color this year.

Learn more about Eastern redbuds and find places near you to watch them in the wild with the Missouri Department of Conservation’s online field guide.

Discover Nature is sponsored by the Missouri Department of Conservation.

Trevor serves as KBIA’s weekday morning host for classical music. He has been involved with local radio since 1990, when he began volunteering as a music and news programmer at KOPN, Columbia's community radio station. Before joining KBIA, Trevor studied social work at Mizzou and earned a masters degree in geography at the University of Alabama. He has worked in community development and in urban and bicycle/pedestrian planning, and recently served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Zambia with his wife, Lisa Groshong. An avid bicycle commuter and jazz fan, Trevor has cycled as far as Colorado and pawed through record bins in three continents.
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