Pinkbuds in Bloom


Whoever called this spring-flowering tree redbud wasn’t even close, though not all are as pale pink as these growing along George’s Run yesterday. The lighting wasn’t ideal but I’ve meant to stop here in years past while the hillside was awash in this lovely “red” of spring. By the next time I pass that way, the buds will be gone and the heart-shaped leaves will have replaced them.

Redbud is a legume, a member of the bean family, and its roots I believe harbor rhizobia, the bacterial nodules that help put useable nitrogen in the soil. Redbud seems to strongly favor alkaline soils–such as that produced by the limestone bedrock that runs through Georges Run but ends not far north when you cross the Montgomery County line into Floyd.

We don’t have a single redbud on our property or the road in, for that matter. There are a couple more shots of this patch uploaded to the Flickr gallery.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. Some other blogger – maybe it was Pratie Place – said the other day that there aren’t as many redbuds her part of the world as there used to be because deer eat all the saplings. A factor in your lack of them, maybe?

  2. I just love redbuds.

    I have one that I planted about 20 years ago, in a fairly sunny spot, in the woods where I live. I have an acid soil, but it had done well over the years, even so.

    Mine is in bloom now too. I also like the heart shaped leaves, but I hate to see the blooms go, because it is so pretty in bloom.

  3. I’ve often wondered about the apparent color blindness of those who originally named a certain plant or animal. It seems to happen a lot. For instance, the Great Blue Heron I can understand…it’s sort of a bluish-gray most of the time. But the Green Heron? There’s not a speck of green on it. What’s up with that?

  4. Redbuds are one of my favorite trees. And here in North Carolina, they show their colors everywhere, even along the heavily-traveled interstate highways.