Lezlie Sterling / Sacramento Bee

A black bee pollinates the blossoms of a western redbud.

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New Front Yard: Redbud brightens low-water gardens

Published: Saturday, Mar. 29, 2014 - 12:00 am
Last Modified: Thursday, Sep. 18, 2014 - 7:53 pm

This is one part in a weekly series featuring the UC Davis Arboretum “New Front Yard” series, 41 drought-tolerant and beautiful plants well adapted to our region.

Western redbud

Cercis occidentalis

Size: Up to 10 feet.

Bloom season: Early spring.

Pruning needs: Little or none.

Exposure: Full sun to partial shade.

Water needs: Water deeply once or twice a month.

Snapshot: Ubiquitous along area highways, this small California native tree boasts bright-purple blooms in spring, followed by attractive red seed pods in summer. New stems in winter (bearing the distinctive redbuds) were used by American Indians for making baskets. Besides being a low-maintenance plant, this tree offers an added plus – it attracts beneficial insects. Bees love it. See specimens in bloom now in the Mary Wattis Brown Garden of California native plants as well as other gardens on the UC Davis campus.

• For more on the New Front Yard, click on arboretum.ucdavis.edu.

More online

See photo galleries of the arboretum’s Community Favorites and Arboretum All-Stars at sacbee.com/home_garden.

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