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Discover Nature: Eastern Redbuds

 Clusters of tiny pink flowers adorn leafless, gray-brown branches of an Eastern redbud tree in spring.
Eastern redbud trees are in bloom this week in Missouri. Eastern redbud flowers are edible and can be fried, pickled, or eaten raw in salads. Watch for new blossoms this week as you get out and discover nature.

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 find them in the wild with the Missouri Department of Conservation’s online field guide.


Discover Nature is sponsored by the Missouri Department of Conservation.

Kyle Felling was born in the rugged northwest Missouri hamlet of St. Joseph (where the Pony Express began and Jesse James ended). Inspired from a young age by the spirit of the early settlers who used St. Joseph as an embarkation point in their journey westward, Kyle developed the heart of an explorer and yearned to leave for adventures of his own. Perhaps as a result of attending John Glenn elementary school, young Kyle dreamed of becoming an astronaut, but was disheartened when someone told him that astronauts had to be good at math. He also considered being a tow truck driver, and like the heroes of his favorite childhood television shows (The A-Team and The Incredible Hulk) he saw himself traveling the country, helping people in trouble and getting into wacky adventures. He still harbors that dream.
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