With its colorful blooms, it is no surprise that this cluster of Eastern Redbuds (Cercis canadensis) framing the entrance to Witter Field and Piedmont Park was among the winners from 2019 Heritage Tree competition.
During last year’s annual Arbor Day celebration, five trees received a special designation as a Piedmont Heritage Tree. The trees were nominated by local residents, evaluated by city arborists and voted on by the Piedmont Park Commission. Over the next five weeks, the Exedra will feature a brief article and picture of each 2019 Heritage Tree. The public is encouraged to seek out these trees to appreciate their beauty, history and significance. By learning more about the trees that comprise Piedmont’s urban forest, the Park Commission hopes to inspire everyone to seek out special trees in our community and encourage nominations for 2020 Heritage Trees.
Former resident Lisa Kieraldo nominated this group of trees — twice. Until recently relocating to Oregon, Kieraldo and her family lived at the corner of Wildwood and Prospect Avenues, and enjoyed the spectacular view of the trees in bloom during the spring and summer months.
The Eastern Redbud is a large deciduous shrub or small tree, native to eastern North America and is the state tree of Oklahoma. It typically grows 20-30 feet tall, with a 25-30 foot wide canopy. Redbud leaves are simple and heart shaped, 3–4.5 inches long and wide, thin and papery. Some varieties of Eastern Redbud have stunning fall colors that add to their enjoyment as small garden trees. The flowers are dazzling, light to dark pink in color, in small clusters appearing from spring to early summer, on slender bare stems and sometimes on the trunk itself. Long-tongued bees such as blueberry bees and carpenter bees pollinate the flowers.
In some parts of southern Appalachia, green twigs from the eastern redbud serve as seasoning for wild game. Because of this, in these mountain areas, the eastern redbud is referred to as the Spicewood tree.
The Park Commission is accepting nominations for 2020 Heritage Trees through March 16. To nominate a tree, visit the City’s website and complete the downloadable form. The selected trees will be recognized at this year’s Arbor Day celebration on April 9. (Source: Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cercis_canadensis)