"Pay attention to the world." -- Susan Sontag
Redbud Branches and Leaves

Redbud Branches and Leaves

From “Redbud and Violet” in Gather Ye Wild Things: A Forager’s Year by Susan Tyler Hitchcock:

“A faint green mist hangs in the treetops. Then redbud darts into bloom, mauve blossoms on stark black boughs. The petals are pastel but seem shocking amidst gray shadows of winter lingering in the woods.

“The eastern redbud tree may stand up to fifty feet tall, squeezed thin in wooded areas but spreading broad when given space. Its range extends from the central Atlantic coastline into the Midwest. A shrubby cousin grows in California and a larger western redbud graces Texas and New Mexico. All redbuds flower bright and early, before their leaves arrive.

“A branch of redbud offers pleasure to many senses. Clusters of lavender flowers dangle from dark twigs, which curve like Oriental brush strokes. You sense its odor in the air. Draw closer and taste a single bloom, penetrating its inner center of sweetness. That flavor, subtle as spring’s morning light, can adorn this season’s menu.”

From World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments by Aimee Nezhukumatathil:

“Why is the redbud tree not called a purplebud tree? All the flowers are purple.”


The galleries below feature photos of several redbud trees that I took a few weeks ago just as the trees were entering their blooming cycle.

The first three photos are heavily backlit; imagine the sun just above the horizon to the left of where I was standing. The leaves caught my eye, so I tried to capture the scene as I saw it: off in the distance with the background heavily shadowed, the purple-pink blossoms rich with color, and the leaves glowing as if they were individual heart-shaped lightbulbs.

In the middle galleries I focused more closely on individual flowers and leaves. At this stage, the tree produces blooms from surprising places on some of its thick stubs, along with wispy clusters of flower buds running the entire length of thinner branches. And nearly every longer branch is tipped with two or three luminous, yellow-green leaves.

The last gallery shows three images of two of the trees I photographed for some of the closeups in this series.

Thanks for taking a look!

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