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Marcus, Joseph A.
Cercis canadensis var. texensis (S. Wats.) M. Hopkins
Synonyms: Cercis occidentalis
USDA Symbol: cecat
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
This Cercis canadensis variety is a large shrub or small tree, 10-20 ft. in height, differing from the more easterly Eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis var. canadensis) in having smaller, more glossy, and usually hairier leaves with wavy edges, more of a tendency to have red seedpods, and a smaller stature. With a natural range extending from the mountains of southern Oklahoma through the limestone spine of central Texas south to northeastern Mexico, it is also more drought-tolerant than Eastern redbud, though less so than the smaller, more western Mexican redbud (Cercis canadensis var. mexicana). Like all Cercis canadensis varieties, its clusters of flowers appear in early spring before the leaves emerge and continue to bloom as the leaves develop. Leaves are heart shaped to kidney shaped, rounded at the tip, slightly wavy on the edges, and glossy, often with some hairiness on the underside. Flowers rose purple, in small clusters along the branches, appearing before the leaves, in March or early April. Fruit a flat, reddish brown pod up to 4 inches long and pointed at the tip. Deciduous leaves turn gold or red in fall. Seedpods are reddish purple and persist into the winter.
The redbuds of eastern North America have long been popular for their pink-purple early spring flowers that appear on bare wood before the leaves emerge. Texas redbud is the appropriate variety to use if you live on limestone soils from southern Oklahoma through central Texas to northeastern Mexico. It is drought-tolerant within its range, prefers dappled shade but is also found in full sun, and can do well even on relatively thin soils. Its glossy, rounded leaves bring welcome shade and its flowers attract pollinators.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Tree Leaf Retention: Deciduous Leaf Arrangement: Alternate Leaf Complexity: Simple Leaf Shape: Cordate
, Reniform Leaf Venation: Palmate Leaf Margin: Entire Leaf Apex: Acute
, Obtuse Leaf Texture:
Leathery Breeding System:
, Monoecious Size Notes:
10-20 ft Leaf:
Dark Green Flower:
Flowers 1/3-2/5 in. long Fruit:
Green to red or purplish red to reddish brown pods 2-4 in. long pod,
about 1/2 in. wide or less, tapering at both ends, flat with several seeds 1/6-1/5 in. long. Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Pink , Purple
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr
Bloom Notes: Color normally pink or purple, rarely white. White-flowered cultivars have been developed.
OK , TX Native Distribution:
Southern Oklahoma south through central Texas to Nuevo Leon in Mexico Native Habitat:
Dry slopes of canyons & foothills below 4500 ft. Edwards Plateau and limestone soils of north central Texas and eastern part of Plains Country. USDA Native Status: L48(N)
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Low , Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil pH: Alkaline (pH>7.2)
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Drought Tolerance: Medium , High
Cold Tolerant: yes
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Well-drained, calcareous, rocky, sandy, loamy, or clay soils, usually limestone-based.
Conditions Comments: Drought- and cold-tolerant within its range. Give dappled shade when young. A selection called Sanderson is said to be the most drought-adapted Texas redbud cultivar.
Showy, attractive, understory tree
or accent tree. Use Wildlife:
is sought after by butterflies, bees, moths, and insects. The leaves are sometimes browsed by deer. The seeds are eaten by granivorous birds. Use Food:
The flowers are fried in Mexico. The flowers are acid and are sometimes pickled for salads. The nectar
is of some value as a source of honey. Use Medicinal:
A fluid extract can be taken from the bark
which is an active astringent used in the treatment of dysentery. Conspicuous Flowers:
Butterflies Larval Host:
Henrys Elfin butterfly Nectar Source:
Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)
Cercis canadensis var. texensis
is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
PropagationPropagation Material: Seeds
Description: Propagate with scarified and stratified seed.
Seed Collection: Harvest pods as soon as they begin to dry to reduce insect damage.
Seed Treatment: Scarification and stratification necessary.
Commercially Avail: yes
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Mr. Smarty Plants says
Drought-Tolerant Trees for South-Central Texas
February 09, 2010
I would like to replace two Golden Rain Trees with native ornamentals. They should be highly drought tolerant and should not exceed 25 feet in height. They will need to be tough since they will get ...
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Invasive, non-native Paulownia
May 03, 2006
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From the National Suppliers Directory
According to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:
Hill Country Natives
- Leander, TX
From the National Organizations Directory
According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:
Fredericksburg Nature Center
- Fredericksburg, TXLady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
- Austin, TXSibley Nature Center
- Midland, TXPatsy Glenn Refuge
- Wimberley, TXNative Plant Society of Texas
- Fredericksburg, TXTexas Parks and Wildlife Department
- Austin, TXNPSOT - Fredericksburg Chapter
- Fredericksburg, TXNPSOT - Austin Chapter
- Austin, TXJacob's Well Natural Area
- Wimberley, TXNPSOT - Williamson County Chapter
- Georgetown, TX, TX
Herbarium Specimen(s)NPSOT 0716
Collected Mar 15, 1994 in Comal County by Mary Beth White
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Record Modified: 2010-02-08
Research By: TWC Staff, GDG