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Cercis occidentalis

Cercis occidentalis

Western Redbud Cercis occidentalis
Habitat & Elevation Dry slopes below 3,500′
Collection Flower: spring

Garden Section
Western Redbud Cercis occidentalis
Plant type Deciduous small tree or shrub
Size 10′ – 20’x10′ – 15′
Light Full sun to partial shade
Water Drought tolerant
Zone 7 to 10

A beautiful deciduous shrub that gives a spectacular floral display and provides year-round interest, Western Redbud is among the easiest native shrubs to grow. It is a multi-trunked large shrub or small tree growing up to 20′ tall.

In early spring or late winter, a profusion of small, bright magenta to pink blossoms cover the bare, gray to silver branches. Attractive, large, rounded leaves with heart-shaped bases emerge shortly after the bloom. Leaves grow to 3″ wide, and age to a dark blue-green, then turn bright yellow, orange or red in the fall before dropping from the branches. Flat seedpods develop by late summer and hang from the tree into winter. The bare, sculptural branches, covered with drooping seed pods present a picturesque display in the winter.

Although Western Redbud is tolerant of drought and a variety of exposures and soil types, it will perform best in well drained soils, produce more flowers in full sun with winter chill, and grow larger with some supplemental irrigation once established. It thrives in the hot summers and cold winters of the California foothills. Prune to remove the oldest trunks in the winter or after the blooming period. To rejuvenate an unpruned plant, cut the entire clump to the ground and allow to resprout.[18, 20]

A versatile and undemanding plant to cultivate, Western Redbud can be used in naturalized settings, as a small patio tree or in a perennial or woodland garden. It is spectacular when combined with Ceanothus (Ceanothus species). Other plant companions are California Buckeye (Aesculus californica) Oaks (Quercus species) and Alumroot (Heuchera micrantha).

Food Section


Redbud Cornbread

Redbud Cornbread

Redbud Vegan Cornbread

  • 2 cups organic cornmeal
  • 2 cups flour (Oak nut or other gluten-free substitute)
  • ¼ cup Blue Flax seeds (or other wild seeds)
  • ½ tbsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¾ tsp turmeric
  • 1¼ cups apple juice
  • ¾ cup soy or nut milk
  • ½ cup oil
  • 1½ cups Redbud flowers
  • 1 tbsp ground berries (Madrone, Manzanita, Toyon)


  • Preheat oven to 350o.
  • Mix together dry ingredients.
  • Combine wet ingredients.
  • Mix wet ingredients into the dry until just moistened.
  • Stir in flowers and berries.
  • Pour into an 8″x8″ baking dish and bake for about an hour.
  • Allow to cool on a wire rack.


Miner's Lettuce & Redbud Salad

Miner’s Lettuce & Redbud Salad

Redbud Salad
Garnish seasonal salad greens with the beautiful, edible flowers of Western Redbud.[48]

Cultural and Functional Art Section

Baskets: Use Redbud shoots to weave baskets
according to Maidu tradition.

Bows: Use for making bows according to the tradition of the Southern Sierra Miwok Indians.

Deer Brush Basket w/native arrangement of Bay, Redbud, Ceanothus

Deer Brush Basket w/native arrangement of Bay, Redbud, Ceanothus


Floral Arrangements: Enjoy the profusion of magenta flowers on
cut stems.