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Western Redbud
Cercis occidentalis
About Western Redbud (Cercis occidentalis) Nurseries Show All Photos The Western Redbud is a small deciduous tree or shrub found in the foothills and mountains of California. In the northern, rainier part of its range, it grows more often on dry slopes in mountain foothills. In the southern and drier part of its range, it grows most often near near higher elevation creeks, canyon bottoms and other moister areas. The thin, shiny brown branches bear shiny heart-shaped leaves which are light green early in the season and darken as they age. Leaves on plants at higher elevation may turn gold or red as the weather cools. The showy flowers develop in the spring and are bright pink or magenta, and grow in clusters all over the shrub, making the plant very colorful and noticeable in the landscape. The shrub bears 3 inch long brown legume pods which are very thin and dry.

This plant is easy to grow just about anywhere in northern California that doesn't get below 15 degrees. In southern California, best to plant Western Redbuds near seasonal streams, springs, damp areas or irrigated areas. Additionally, this plant needs four season climates with a cool winter to thrive, so best not to plant near the immediate coast in southern California.
Plant Description
Plant Type

Max. Height
10 - 20 ft (3 - 6.1 m)

Max. Width
10 - 15 ft (3.0 - 4.6 m)



Growth Rate

Winter Deciduous

Heart shaped, darken with age

Flower Color
Pink, Yellow, Red

Flowering Season
Spring, Winter

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Slopes and canyons, often near streams, as part of chaparral or foothill woodland

Part Shade, Sun

Elevation ?
-1' - 10807'

Annual Precip. ?
5.6" - 97.2"

Summer Precip. ?
0.21" - 2.65"

Coldest Month ?
28.2° F - 54.4° F

Hottest Month ?
49.8° F - 83.3° F

Humidity ?
0.31 vpd - 34.53 vpd

Soil Description

Soil PH
5.0 - 8.0

Soil Toxicity Tolerance
Tolerates Sodic Soil

Fast, Medium, Slow

Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to 15 - 20° F

Sunset Zones ?
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7*, 8*, 9*, 12, 14*, 15*, 16*, 17, 18*, 19*, 20*, 21*, 22*, 23*, 24*

Companion Plants
Bush Anemone (Carpenteria californica), Silktassel Bush (Garrya elliptica), Deer Grass (Muhlenberia rigens), Mock Orange (Philadelphus lewisii), Oaks (Quercus species), Elderberry (Sambuccus nigra), Sages (Salvia species), Ceanothus species

Wildlife Attracted

Landscaping Information
Ease of Care
Very Easy

Water Requirement ?
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Moderately Popular

Max. Summer Water ?
No Summer Water
Keep moist

Organic with Rocks

Responds well to pruning/occasional hard pruning.

Propagation ?
For propagating by seed: Hot water and 2 mos. stratification.

Common uses
Bank Stabilization, Hummingbird Gardens, Deer Resistant, Bird Gardens, Bee Gardens

Nursery Availability
Commonly Available

Other Names
Botanical Names
Canadensis var. texensis,Canadensis orbiculata

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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