About Eastern Redbuds
The eastern redbud is a small, round tree that typically grows to be about 20 feet tall. From April to May, its maroon branches are covered with tight clusters of pinkish-purple flowers, which are attractive to pollinators and birds.
This species is a popular ornamental because it is ramiflorous, meaning its flowers appear on bare branches. This gives the tree a striking and unique look in the spring. Flowers are also edible and can be fried or eaten as a salad. In the summer, these blooms are replaced by smooth, heart-shaped leaves and flat seedpods.
Eastern redbud was first cultivated in gardens in 1641. At one time, extracts from the inner bark and roots were used to treat colds, flu and fever. Branches have also been used for basket weaving. Today, the eastern redbud is primarily used as an ornamental in gardens and small spaces.
Eastern Redbud at the Akron Zoo
This species is a horticulture favorite at the Akron Zoo because it helps increase the zoo’s biodiversity and supports pollinators. You can find eastern redbud growing in our Monarch Waystation, Legends of the Wild, in the parking lots and even tucked into naturalized areas. By far, our most eye-catching display of redbuds can be found on the west side of parking lot C in late April and early May.