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Western Redbud from your Window

April 05, 2013 Posted by: BW - Volunteer Interpreter

Visitors over the past two weeks may have been struck by the brilliant pinky-purple flowers of the western redbud (Cercis occidentalis) tree on their drive to the park.Especially noticeable along Highway 140 up to and beyond the Arch Rock entrance station, these small trees are covered in clusters of flowers this time of year.Common below 5,000 feet, the redbud tree blooms before any of its heart-shaped leaves begin to appear.Upon closer inspection, these bright flowers are beautifully complex in bilateral symmetry, with petal shapes known as banner, wings, and a keel. This is typical of all plants in the pea family, of which the redbud is a part.In fact, the dark-red seed pods, commonly found still on the tree from last year, are clearly two sided pods, similar in shape to pea pods we may find at the grocery store.

Western redbud along Highway 140

 Close-up of redbud flowers

Roadside Naturalist, BW

1 Comments Comments Icon

  1. Carol - Plantation, Florida
    November 04, 2013 at 04:17

    Love your photography. I'm a friend of your aunt Terry D...


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Did You Know?

Cars and campers in a meadow in Yosemite Valley.

Unrestricted camping is no longer allowed in Yosemite Valley because of damage it causes. The placement of campgrounds and campsites has changed over the past 75 years in response to a growing understanding of river dynamics, geologic hazards, and the park's natural and cultural resources.