Plants and People Project

Redbud - Cercis canadensis

Small understory tree that blooms with pink - purple flower clusters, in spring.

Nicknamed the Judas tree.

Seeds appear in pods like peas or beans.

Redbud parts were once used to make a medicine for diarrhea and dysentery. In folk medicine, it was used to treat leukemia. Foster and Duke, Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants.

Native Americans used redbud shoots for red accents in their baskets.

"Redbud flowers are edible, with a slightly nutty flavor. They can be added to pancakes or fritters or used as an attractive garnish on salads. When green and tender, the seed pods are also edible and can be cooked and served with butter just like peas." Jim Mason Great Plains Nature Center

The foliage is eaten by deer, insects are attracted to the nectar of the flowers, and several kinds of birds feast on the seeds.

Redbuds are the host plant for Henry's Elfin. WDNR

Flower buds on redbud tree in early spring

Flower buds on redbud tree in early spring

DISCLAIMER: These pages are presented solely as a source of INFORMATION and ENTERTAINMENT. No claims are made for the efficacy of any herb nor for any historical herbal treatment. In no way can the information provided here take the place of the standard, legal, medical practice of any country. Additionally, some of these plants are extremely toxic and should be used only by licensed professionals who have the means to process them properly into appropriate pharmaceuticals. One final note: many plants were used for a wide range of illnesses in the past. Be aware that many of the historical uses have proven to be ineffective for the problems to which they were applied.

Identification and other facts / More facts


clusters of purple blooms on redbud tree

Redbud blooms

leaves of redbud tree

heart shaped redbud leaves

Redbud facts

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What tree is it? off site


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Posted 5/10/06 Cindy O'Hora