Did You Know Redbud Flowers Are Edible?

Here’s how you can eat them

Freshly harvested Redbud Flowers, Photo by Aimée Gramblin, Author.

First of all, aren’t those flowers beautiful?! They emerge in early spring, a feast for our eyes! And, it turns out we can eat them, too!

Cercis canadensis (eastern redbud tree) grows in Zones 4–8 and prefers full to partial sun. These trees bring year-round beauty to Oklahoma. It’s no wonder they are the state tree here!

According to gardendesign.com, their range extends from the eastern U.S. to as far west as Texas and Oklahoma, and even up into Canada.

Cercis canadensis in full bloom in our backyard. Photo by Aimée Gramblin, Author.

About a month ago I saw a beautiful arrangement of spring-budding branches on an Instagram post.

This inspired me to forage branches from our March blooming eastern redbud tree to create a floral arrangement that turned out beautifully!

Our home didn’t come with a redbud tree…

Our across-the-street neighbor has a beautiful, old redbud tree, and one day several years ago, I noticed a redbud seedling had rooted deeply into our front yard built-in porch flower planter.

I bet it was a seedling from our neighbor’s tree. I took a shovel and dug it out. It was hard work! My daughter, Ceci, and I chose a place in our backyard and transplanted it to its new home. Several years later our redbud is a happy tree, blooming reliably every spring.

Ceci taste testing redbud flowers, Photo by Aimée Gramblin.

Redbuds are seasonally interesting year-round! In early spring, they are one of the first trees to put on expectant buds.

About a month later, they are blooming in all their pinkish-purple glory.

As an aside, I wonder how they got the name redbud when their color is anything but red?!

When their blooms begin to fade, they put on a striking chartreuse heart-shaped leaf that contrasts pinkish-purple blooms beautifully.

Throughout the summer, the heart-shaped leaves hang onto their beauty and in the fall they change color to beautiful shades of yellow and orange.

Then they put on interesting dangling brown seedpods. And, last but not least, when all of their leaves have dropped for winter, the zigzag form of their branches becomes their focal point.

Jaden sampling Redbud flowers, Photo by David Gramblin.

Redbud flowers are edible! According to eattheweeds.com, they are even high in vitamin c!

This site also states that young leaves are edible raw or cooked and suggests pickling the flowers or using them as you would use capers in cooking.

According to this source, redbud seeds are 25% protein, 8% fat, and 3% ash. I had no idea some many parts of this tree are nutritious!

They go on to say the flowers and seeds are very high in the antioxidants linoleic and alpha-linoleic acid and that the seeds also have oleic and palmitic acids.

According to the grow network.com redbud flowers make a bright yellow dye! Have you ever tried making dye from plants? I have not but when I see other people do it I’m always impressed.

I had my kids taste test the flowers earlier this spring. You can see their reactions here on Instagram.

Have you tried cooking with redbud flowers or other parts of redbuds? What do you think they taste like? If you have a recipe, please share it in the comments section!

As you may know, many flowers are edible. I’ve taken to nibbling borage (cucumber flavor) and nasturtium (peppery flavor) in my garden this year!

Some fancy chefs even use edible flowers as garnishes in their dishes!

Such versatility in our gardens!

Ceci displays our Redbud Floral Arrangement, Photo by Aimée Gramblin.



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