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Cercis chingii

Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
SER-sis CHING-ee-eye
Description

The Chinese Redbud gets its name from the country where it originated.  In its native habitat, it will be found in woodlands, thickets and along slopes.  It has been grown in the United States from seed acquired from China in 1984.  JC Raulston first grew this specimen in 1986.  The current plant at the Arboretum is a replacement for that first tree.  

This variety of redbud holds the distinction as being the earliest to bloom with profuse densely-clustered blooms.  Like other varieties of redbud, they will bloom before the foliage opens.  To be at its best, full sun is ideal.  However, some shade is appreciated in locations with hot summer climates.  In order for the flowers to set properly, a winter chill is needed.

A long tap root will be developed as the tree ages, therefore choosing the right location for planting the Chinese Redbud is important, as it does not transplant well.  Cooler locations should include protection from cold temperatures, which can include a thick layer of mulch.

It is sometimes confused with our native Cercis canadensis.  However, the Chinese Redbud has larger flowers, more glossy foliage, longer legumes, shorter maturity height, and is less tolerant of cold temperatures.  

The genus name Cercis comes from the Greek word kerkis which means weaver's shuttle, referring to the fact that the seed pod resembles the size and shape of a weaver's shuttle used to move thread back and forth on a loom.

Wildlife Value:  The flowers provide nectar for bees and once pollinated form leguminous pods, the seed can be consumed by birds. Members of the genus Cercis support the following specialized bee: Habropoda laboriosa.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  Although not a serious problem, issues include canker, dieback, leaf spot, blight, and mildew.  Does not perform well clay or dry soils. 

 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Avondale'
    Rose/magenta flowers.
  • 'Don Egolf'
    Rose/mauve flowers.
'Avondale', 'Don Egolf'
Tags:
#deciduous#wildlife plants#deciduous shrub#nectar plant#specialized bees#deer resistant#frost tolerant#long bloom time#pollinator plant#deciduous tree#bird friendly#bee friendly#black walnut toxicity tolerant#dry soils intolerant#clay soils intolerant#cold intolerant
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Avondale'
    Rose/magenta flowers.
  • 'Don Egolf'
    Rose/mauve flowers.
'Avondale', 'Don Egolf'
Tags:
#deciduous#wildlife plants#deciduous shrub#nectar plant#specialized bees#deer resistant#frost tolerant#long bloom time#pollinator plant#deciduous tree#bird friendly#bee friendly#black walnut toxicity tolerant#dry soils intolerant#clay soils intolerant#cold intolerant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Cercis
    Species:
    chingii
    Family:
    Fabaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Southern China
    Wildlife Value:
    Birds, bees, and butterflies are attracted to the Chinese Redbud.
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Attracts Pollinators
    Buffer
    Colorful
    Screening
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    no serious insect or disease problems, moderalely resistant to deer damage
    Dimensions:
    Height: 10 ft. 0 in. - 15 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 6 ft. 0 in. - 12 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Shrub
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    6-feet-12 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    7b, 7a, 8b, 8a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Legume
    Fruit Length:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    The thick, leathery legumes are often twisted.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Long Bloom Season
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    Dense clusters of 1" rosy purple flowers. This is the first redbud to flower in spring.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leathery
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Cordate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The leaves are tinted red/purple until the open, then turn a dark green. They are up to 4" long, alternate, simple leaves with a slightly leathery feel. Each leaf has 5 principal veins which are prominent on the underside. They have sparse hairs on the veins and vein axils.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Light Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Smooth
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Densely branched with multi-stems.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Lawn
    Meadow
    Patio
    Recreational Play Area
    Slope/Bank
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Cottage Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Barrier
    Border
    Flowering Tree
    Hedge
    Mass Planting
    Screen/Privacy
    Shade Tree
    Small groups
    Small Tree
    Specimen
    Street Tree
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Songbirds
    Specialized Bees
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Black Walnut
    Deer