Cercis canadensis L. – Fabaceae – legume family

This small native tree is an overlooked gem.  It flowers before the leaves emerge and is especially striking and conspicuous when it blooms, which in Albion is typically late April or early May.  During the rest of the year its heart-shaped leaves and brown, thin bean pod fruits (legumes) have a more subtle beauty.

Redbuds are relatively short-lived trees that tend to begin to break apart after 25-30 years.  There are some old trees located by train depot.  Susan Crawford Reiske, Albion’s former urban forester, recalls that the younger trees planted there were done so in memory of Dr. Jack McClure, Albion’s former mayor.

This species is also known as the Judas tree.  According to legend, Judas hanged himself on the branches of the middle eastern relative of this species.