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Ode to the Redbud Tree

One of my favorite trees is the Redbud tree. We had many in our yard in Glendale, MO, a suburb of St. Louis, MO, where I grew up. It was one of my mother’s favorite trees as well. When we moved to the High Desert in Southern CA I got several from the forest service and planted them on our ranch. They have started blooming once again and the butterflies and the bees are are having the time of their lives enjoying the tasty nectar. Even the humming birds love them! This is a photo I took of one of our Redbud trees yesterday afternoon while out enjoying all of our fruit trees beginning to bloom.

Butterfly in the Redbud Tree

The Redbud is a small tree which grows in the forest, on the borders of fields, on hillsides or in valleys…and now on our ranch in the High Desert of Southern CA! The leaves are alternate and heart shaped, three to five inches long, turning to a bright clear yellow in the autumn. The Redbuds bright magenta, pea shaped flowers grow in clusters along the twigs and small branches, and usually appear before the leaves in early spring.

Redbud Tree with Heart Shaped Leaves Unfolding

A Bit of Oklahoma History

Maimee Lee Robinson Browne, my husband John’s grandmother, was instrumental in getting the Redbud Tree to be the official tree of the state of Oklahoma in 1937. Redbud in Poetry as expressed in verse collected by Maimee Lee Robinson Browne is a beautiful book of poetry that was published in 1964, honoring the Redbud Tree and acknowledging her for all the work she did to get this accomplished. She was the leader of a state-wide campaign to plant the Redbud tree. The beautification program took hold all over the state. There are over thirty thousand Redbud trees in Sulphur, OK. They must be a sight to behold when they are all in bloom in the spring. That is a lot of Redbuds compared to the seven on our ranch!

“Whereas in the beginning of this great commonwealth, when the sturdy and hardy pioneers thereof trekked across its rolling hills and plains, one of the first sights to greet them spread out in glorious panorama, was the Redbud tree-a tree, that as it arose in the spring from verdant fields, was emblematic of the eternal renewal of all life; a tree that in its beauty renewed the worn spirit and gave hope to the tired heart of a people seeking homes in a new land, and….” a partial quote from the Senate Joint Resolution Number 5 declaring the Redbud the official tree of the state of Oklahoma on March 30, 1937.

Bees Enjoying Nectar from the Redbud Blossoms

Beauty in Our Forests

Deep in the forests in spring
When the redbird makes her first call
She sees only the green of the cedar
and the Redbud through brown leaves of fall.
Brilliant buds tempt travelers to gather
Small sprays to take on their way,
Denuding the forests of slender
and wasting God’s glory each day.

To protect this miracle of springtime
When drab colors become radiant hue,
Help God keep beauty in our forests
For birds and mankind to view.


Redbud Tree in Full Cycle

This Redbud tree still has its seed pods on from last fall and is in full bloom with its flowers and the beginnings of the heart shaped leaves unfolding.

Comments are Welcome!

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  1. High Desert Greg's Gravatar High Desert Greg
    April 8, 2012    


    Great read and love the history. You have very beautiful tree’s.


  2. April 8, 2012    

    Thanks Greg. They are amazing to watch unfold during the seasons.

  3. April 10, 2012    

    Great video about the Redbud tree too!

  4. April 11, 2012    

    Yes, isn’t it? I just loved it and watched it several times.

  5. Terry's Gravatar Terry
    June 1, 2012    

    Thanks for the info. What are you calling the high desert of southern ca? I live just outside San Diego in Escondidio if you know where that is. Near the San Diego Zoo Wild Animal Park. It’s gets in the high 90’s over 100 many days of summer. I like this tree but wonder if it will struggle with the heat. It will get no shade.

  6. June 1, 2012    

    Hi Terry,

    We are in Phelan which is near Victorville, Hesperia, Apple Valley etc… in San Bernardino County…It has gotten as high as 112 since we have lived here and as low as 12 degrees in the winter. The Redbud trees on our property have survived that weather sitting right out in the middle of the sun plus very high winds…we do water them a little more on the very hot days otherwise the leaves turn yellow…

    I am very familiar with Valley Center which is right there by Escondido but do not know how this tree would do in your area…I think I would check with a knowledgeable nursery in your area to be sure…I know the Forest service near San Dimas and Glendora area are able to grow them because that’s where I got some of mine from a few years ago.

    I am guessing that you can grown them in your area but I would also ask someone that would really know. I’d love to know what you find out.

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  1. Planting a Redbud Tree in the High Desert | High Desert Blogging on April 10, 2012 at 9:30 pm
  2. Natural Plants, Trees, and Flowers that Grow in the High Desert | High Desert Blogging on May 26, 2012 at 7:43 am

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