Cercis canadensis (Common Name: Eastern Redbud Tree)
An absolute stunner, and a welcome sign that spring is finally here. Redbuds are deciduous, understory trees found throughout central and eastern North America, from Canada down to Central America. They are typically found in open woodlands and woodland margins, which makes redbuds great landscaping trees because they can take full sun and part-shade.
The common name comes from the red color of the flower buds (duh), but the flowers themselves are a beautiful rosy purple. They flower on bare branches before almost every other native woody plant, providing us with all of those stunning flashes of purple as we drive down the highway this time of year. Redbuds prefer moderately fertile soil with regular moisture, but not wet or poorly-drained locations. They also do not like to be transplanted, so plant while young and leave undisturbed.