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Cercis canadensis var. mexicana (Mexican redbud)
Waitt, Damon E.

Cercis canadensis var. mexicana

Cercis canadensis L. var. mexicana (Rose) M. Hopkins

Mexican Redbud

Fabaceae (Pea Family)

Synonym(s): Cercis canadensis ssp. mexicana


USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

Deciduous 5-12 feet multi-stemmed shrub or small tree. Leaves simple, cordate, alternate, leathery, glossy green, with undulating margins. Flowers red. Fruit a pod to 10 cm long.

Mexican redbud is smaller in stature, has smaller, glossier, and more wavy-edged leaves, and is more drought tolerant than Texas redbud (Cercis canadensis var. texensis).


From the Image Gallery

9 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Shape: Cordate , Reniform
Leaf Venation: Palmate
Leaf Pubescence: Tomentose
Leaf Margin: Entire
Breeding System: Flowers Unisexual , Monoecious
Fruit Type: Legume
Size Notes: 10-15 ft normally, but can reach 25 ft and grow much taller than that in northeastern Mexico
Leaf: silvery green
Autumn Foliage: yes
Flower: Flowers 1/2 inch long
Fruit: Green or brown or red, 2-4 inches

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Pink , Purple
Bloom Time: Feb , Mar , Apr


Native Distribution: Texas west of the Pecos River south into Nuevo Leon in northeastern Mexico
Native Habitat: Hilly and mountainous areas, usually in calcareous soils

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low , Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil pH: Alkaline (pH>7.2)
Drought Tolerance: High
Cold Tolerant: yes
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Calcareous, limestone-based sands, loams, clays, often rocky
Conditions Comments: One of three Cercis canadensis varieties naturally occurring in Texas, the Mexican redbud is shorter and more compact in Texas than the others and is more likely to have multiple trunks. The leaves tend to be darker, smaller, and slightly ruffled along the margins. South into northeastern Mexico it reaches greater heights than it does in Texas. Like other redbuds, Mexican redbud is stunning in bloom.


Use Ornamental: Blooms ornamental, Attractive, Understory tree, Accent tree or shrub
Use Wildlife: Browse, Nectar-bees, Nectar-butterflies, Nectar-moths, Seeds-granivorous birds.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Interesting Foliage: yes
Attracts: Butterflies
Larval Host: Henry's Elfin butterfly
Nectar Source: yes
Deer Resistant: Moderate

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees
Special Value to Bumble Bees
Provides Nesting Materials/Structure for Native Bees

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.

Mr. Smarty Plants says

Native plants for butterfly garden in Waco, TX
February 03, 2008
Few weeks ago I sent you a letter but never got an answer back. I would like to have your suggestions of native plants for a butterfly garden (30'x 30') here in Waco. The plants must be (1)drought ...
view the full question and answer

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

NPSOT - Native Plant Society of Texas - Fredericksburg, TX
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department - Austin, TX
NPSOT - Austin Chapter - Austin, TX
NPSOT - Williamson County Chapter - Georgetown, TX

Wildflower Center Seed Bank

LBJWC-1373 Collected 2010-08-20 in Brewster County by Michael Eason

1 collection(s) available in the Wildflower Center Seed Bank


Bibref 1186 - Field Guide to Moths of Eastern North America (2005) Covell, C.V., Jr.
Bibref 298 - Field Guide to Texas Trees (1999) Simpson, B.J.
Bibref 1185 - Field Guide to Western Butterflies (Peterson Field Guides) (1999) Opler, P.A. and A.B. Wright
Bibref 355 - Landscaping with Native Plants of Texas and the Southwest (1991) Miller, G. O.
Bibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.
Bibref 995 - Native Landscaping from El Paso to L.A. (2000) Wasowski, S. and A. Wasowski
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski
Bibref 291 - Texas Wildscapes: Gardening for Wildlife (1999) Damude, N. & K.C. Bender
Bibref 297 - Trees of Central Texas (1984) Vines, Robert A.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Additional resources

USDA: Find Cercis canadensis var. mexicana in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Cercis canadensis var. mexicana in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Cercis canadensis var. mexicana


Record Modified: 2015-11-12
Research By: TWC Staff

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