Cercis occidentalis

Red bud

Plant Type: Shrub, Tree
Sun: Sun
Drainage: Adaptable
Water: Naturalize, Occasional
Height X Width: 20' X 20'
Santa Clara County Local: No
What do these mean?



Red bud is native to much of the mountainous regions of California. It typically grows as a rounded shrub with an open structure. There is always something attractive about its appearance. While dormant in the winter the ashen bark of the branches is exposed. Then the profusion of magenta flowers announce the end of winter. The heart-shaped leaves emerge a little later, shiny and tinged with red. These mature to a solid apple-green. The seed pods, which are quite persistent, have the large sickle shape typical of members of the pea family. Red bud appreciates full sun but will grow well with a little shade. It just won’t bloom as well under these conditions. An interesting note: there is a small population of redbud in the northeastern corner of Henry Coe State Park. This is far out of range for the species. It is unclear how the plants arrived there. My favorite guess is that they were planted by members of the Yokut tribe who frequented the area. Red bud was used for arrow production and so would be a valuable resource.


Deer Resistant: Yes
Attractive to Bees: Yes
Attractive to Butterflies: Yes
Good Under Oaks: No
Evergreen or Deciduous: Deciduous