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Vascular Plants of California
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Cercis occidentalis

Higher Taxonomy
Family: Fabaceae (Leguminosae)View DescriptionDichotomous Key
Habit: Annual to tree. Leaf: generally alternate, generally compound, generally stipuled, generally entire, pinnately veined Inflorescence: generally raceme, spike, umbel or head; or flowers 1--few in axils. Flower: generally bisexual, generally bilateral; hypanthium 0 or flat to tubular; sepals generally 5, generally fused; petals generally 5, free, fused, or lower 2 +- united into keel (see 3, Key to Groups, for banner, wings); stamens 10 or many (or [1], 5, 6, 7, 9), free or fused or 10 with 9 filaments at least partly fused, 1 (uppermost) free; pistil 1, ovary superior, generally 1-chambered, ovules 1--many, style, stigma 1. Fruit: legume, including a stalk-like base (above receptacle) or not. Seed: 1--many, often +- reniform, generally hard, smooth.
Genera In Family: +- 730 genera, 19400 species: worldwide; with grasses, requisite in agriculture, most natural ecosystems. Many cultivated, most importantly Arachis, peanut; Glycine, soybean; Phaseolus, beans; Medicago, alfalfa; Trifolium, clovers; many orns. Note: Unless stated otherwise, fruit length including stalk-like base, number of 2° leaflets is per 1° leaflet. Upper suture of fruit adaxial, lower abaxial. Anthyllis vulneraria L. evidently a waif, a contaminant of legume seed from Europe. Laburnum anagyroides Medik., collected on Mount St. Helena in 1987, may be naturalized. Ceratonia siliqua L., carob tree (Group 2), differs from Gleditsia triacanthos L. in having evergreen (vs deciduous) leaves that are 1-pinnate (vs 1-pinnate on spurs on old stems, 2-pinnate on new stems) with 2--5(8) (vs 7--17) 1° leaflets, commonly cultivated, now naturalized in southern California. Aeschynomene rudis Benth. , Halimodendron halodendron (Pall.) Voss (possibly extirpated), Lens culinaris Medik. are agricultural weeds. Caragana arborescens Lam. only cult. Ononis alopecuroides L. , Sphaerophysa salsula (Pall.) DC. all evidently extirpated. Cercidium moved to Parkinsonia; Chamaecytisus to Cytisus; Psoralidium lanceolatum to Ladeania.
eFlora Treatment Author: Martin F. Wojciechowski, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Martin F. Wojciechowski, Thomas J. Rosatti.
Genus: CercisView Description 

Common Name: REDBUD
Habit: Shrub, tree, unarmed; deciduous. Leaf: simple, alternate, cordate to reniform, +- leathery, glabrous. Inflorescence: umbel-like, axillary on short spur or +- sessile on woody branches. Flower: bilateral, generally appearing before leaves; sepals fused at base; petals pink-purple, banner inside wings in bud, keel petals free; stamens 10, generally included, free. Fruit: dehiscent, oblong, flat. Seed: 2--8.
Species In Genus: 10 species: northern hemisphere. Etymology: (Greek: from cerkis, applied perhaps to a poplar, but also to C. siliquastrum, Judas tree)
eFlora Treatment Author: Martin F. Wojciechowski & Elizabeth McClintock
Unabridged Reference: Isely 1975 Mem New York Bot Gard 25(2):134--150
Cercis occidentalis Torr. ex A. Gray
Habit: Shrub, tree < 7 m, glabrous. Leaf: < 10 cm; petiole 15--20 mm. Inflorescence: 2--5-flowered. Flower: keel 12--13 mm, > wings, banner. Fruit: 5--8 cm.
Ecology: Dry, shrubby slopes, canyons, streambanks, chaparral, foothill woodland, yellow-pine forest; Elevation: 100--1500 m. Bioregional Distribution: NW, CaR, SN, GV, SnFrB, SCoRO, SnGb, SnBr, PR, MP; Distribution Outside California: to southwestern Oregon, Utah, Texas. Flowering Time: Mar--May
Synonyms: Cercis orbiculata Greene; Cercis canadensis L. var. orbiculata (Greene) Barneby
Unabridged Note: Some authorities consider C. orbiculata Greene to be the correct name (see ICPN).
Jepson eFlora Author: Martin F. Wojciechowski & Elizabeth McClintock
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

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Botanical illustration including Cercis occidentalis

botanical illustration including Cercis occidentalis


Citation for this treatment: Martin F. Wojciechowski & Elizabeth McClintock 2012, Cercis occidentalis, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, /eflora/eflora_display.php?tid=18736, accessed on September 16, 2021.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2021, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on September 16, 2021.

Cercis occidentalis
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© 2009 Gary A. Monroe
Cercis occidentalis
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© 2009 Barry Breckling
Cercis occidentalis
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© 2008 Steve Matson
Cercis occidentalis var. orbiculata
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© 2005 Gary A. Monroe
Cercis occidentalis
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© 2020 Neal Kramer
Cercis occidentalis
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© 2013 Neal Kramer

More photos of Cercis occidentalis in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Cercis occidentalis:
NW, CaR, SN, GV, SnFrB, SCoRO, SnGb, SnBr, PR, MP
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map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).


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Data provided by the participants of the  Consortium of California Herbaria.
View all CCH records
All markers link to CCH specimen records. The original determination is shown in the popup window.
Blue markers indicate specimens that map to one of the expected Jepson geographic subdivisions (see left map). Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.

CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time (fruiting time in some monocot genera).