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Life History and Disturbance Response of Cercis canadensis (eastern redbud)
Family: Caesalpiniaceae/Leguminosae
Guild: opportunistic, dispersal limited (large-seeded)
Functional Lifeform: small deciduous tree
Ecological Role: occasional understory component on moist, well-drained sites and fertile bottomlands; tolerates nutrient deficiencies but grows best when plant competition is limited
Lifespan, yrs (typical/max): 75/90
Shade Tolerance: tolerant
Height, m: 4-8
Canopy Tree: no
Pollination Agent: insects
Seeding, yrs (begins/optimal/declines): 7/20/75
Mast Frequency, yrs: 2
New Cohorts Source: seeds or sprouts
Flowering Dates: early spring
Flowers/Cones Damaged by Frost: Information Not Found
Seedfall Begins: late fall -- winter
Seed Banking: 1 yr +
Cold Stratification Required: yes
Seed Type/Dispersal Distance/Agent: pod/ variable/ wind, gravity, birds, other animals
Season of Germination: spring
Seedling Rooting System: taproot
Sprouting: stump sprouts and root suckers common
Establishment Seedbed Preferences:
Substrate: mineral soil
Light: overstory shade
Moisture: moist required
Temperature: neutral
Disturbance response:
Fire: Eastern redbud increases where fire is suppressed, and is invading woodlands and former grasslands where fire was once frequent. However, redbud is also very resilient to fire. Though susceptible to topkilling, it vigorously sprouts from adventitious buds in the root collar and from root suckers. Few or no new seedlings establish on burned sites, particularly those undergoing repeated burning. Prescribed burning has been used to encourage redbud sprouting.
Weather: Redbud is intolerant of flooding.
Air pollution: Redbud is intermediate in sensitivity to ozone and sulphur dioxide. Symptoms of foliar injury have been noted in areas of high ambient ozone and under fumigation with ozone.