Plant of the Week: Redbuds

The genus Cercis includes 10 species of shrubs, commonly referred to as redbuds. On the High Line you’ll find 5 different cultivars, or types. Pictured here is Cercis canadensis 'Appalachian Red'. Photo by Barry Munger.
 

The High Line’s planting design is inspired by the self-seeded landscape that grew up between rail tracks after the trains stopped running in the 1980s. Today, the High Line includes more than 300 species of perennials, grasses, shrubs, and trees — chosen for their hardiness, adaptability, diversity, and seasonal variation in color and texture. Some of the species that originally grew on the High Line’s rail bed are reflected in the park landscape today.

This week we share with you one of our gardeners’ current favorites.

It’s the perfect time of year to highlight a genus of shrubs whose unique blooms are currently on view throughout the park. Redbuds, as they are commonly known, are medium-sized deciduous shrubs and trees with heart-shaped leaves. In spring, they are identifiable by their abundant blooms which sprout directly from the branches and trunk of the plants. We have five cultivars of Cercis whose flowers range from almost white to vibrant fuschia.

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Cercis canadensis, Eastern redbud
This is the pure species variety of Eastern redbud that features medium pink flowers. This tall shrub is native to New York and found all along the eastern United States and Canada.

All redbuds feature great seed heads in the late summer and fall, as seen on Cercis canadensis pictured here.

See this plant between West 21st and West 22nd Streets and between West 25th and West 27th Streets.










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Cercis canadensis ‘Pauline Lily,’ Pauline Lily Eastern redbud
This Eastern redbud gets its name from the wife of its discoverer. Native to the mountains of West Virginia, its flowers are almost white, with a tiny blush of pink.

See this plant between West 21st and West 22nd Streets.






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Cercis canadensis ‘Ace of Hearts,’ Ace of Hearts Eastern redbud
This hybrid has light purple flowers and small heart-shaped leaves. This particular tree was planted to commemorate our 2 millionth visitor in April, 2010.

See this plant between Gansevoort and Little West 12th Streets.






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Cercis canadensis 'Appalachian Red,' Appalachian Red Eastern redbud
This crowd-pleaser boasts the brightest pink flowers of all the cultivars of Eastern redbud you’ll find at the High Line.

See this plant between Gansevoort and Little West 12th Streets.






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Cercis canadensis 'Forest Pansy,' Forest Pansy Eastern redbud
We lost the tree pictured here during Hurricane Irene and it has since been replanted. You can look forward to seeing the unique red foliage of this cultivar later in the season.

See this plant between Gansevoort and Little West 12th Streets.





Download our brand-new April bloom guide to help identify even more blooms in the park this month.

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