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Cercis gigantea

Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
SER-sis jy-GAN-tee-uh
Description

The Giant Redbud's foliage is just as the name suggests.  Ranging from 6 to 8", the leaves are the largest in the genus.  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.  The bark of young shoots are used in basket making.  

It will perform at its best when grown in soils that are considered calcareous, that is containing calcium carbonate and being of a chalky consistency.  

Minimal information is available about this plant, however, is most closely related to Cercis chinensis.  Giant Redbud is distinguished by its much larger leaves and more rapid growth rate.  Seed received from the Shanghai Botanic Garden was propagated and was formerly found in the gardens at the JC Raulston Arboretum at North Carolina State University.  That specimen which was removed in 2001, was a valuable source for seed.  Propagation of those seeds have led to other specimens, one of which is at the US National Arboretum.

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: This tree can suffer from damage caused by deer.  It will not tolerate being restricted by paving.  

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#deciduous#wildlife plant#nectar plant#fall interest#specialized bees#deer resistant#pollinator plant#deciduous tree#bird friendly#butterfly friendly#bee friendly
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#deciduous#wildlife plant#nectar plant#fall interest#specialized bees#deer resistant#pollinator plant#deciduous tree#bird friendly#butterfly friendly#bee friendly
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Cercis
    Species:
    gigantea
    Family:
    Fabaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Layering
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    China
    Wildlife Value:
    Butterflies are attracted to the flowers.
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Attracts Pollinators
    Buffer
    Colorful
    Screening
    Shade
    Wildlife Food Source
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Arching
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    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:
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    6-feet-12 feet
    12-24 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    7b, 7a, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Legume
    Fruit Description:
    The fruits consist of flattened brown legumes.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    The flowers are a pinkish/purple and bloom in the early spring.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    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:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The thick, leathery, dark green leaves are 6-8 inches long, alternate, simple, and glossy.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Gray
    Light Gray
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gray/Silver
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Often forms as a multi-stemmed tree. The first year branches will be dark brown.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Barrier
    Flowering Tree
    Shade Tree
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Pollinators
    Songbirds
    Specialized Bees
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer