• Rainbow over Half Dome

    Yosemite

    National Park California

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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Yosemite and Huangshan are sister parks. Huangshan, which protects over 77 magnificent granite peaks 3,000 feet (1,000 m) or higher, is one of China's most famous and sacred scenic areas. Countless poems and writings dating back 2,200 years attest to its beauty. More...