Purple Flowering Trees in Rock Creek Park

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Topic: Purple Flowering Trees in Rock Creek Park

Home and Garden March 23, 2012 at 3:33 pm

Purple Flowering Trees in Rock Creek Park

In Rock Creek Park I see amazing deep purple flowering trees.  These trees have less flowers than the cherry trees around the monuments downtown, but they are also an intense purple color.  Does anyone know the name of this type of tree?  I’m looking to get a few seeds and grow the plants.
Thanks for any help.

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Probably a redbud tree! Cercis canadensis. Many different varieties of them. 

I was wondering if they were redbuds, but when I look at photos of the redbuds, the flowers aren’t as purple as these I see in Rock Creek Park.  Redbuds have a very pink/purple hue, but the ones I am referring to have a very almost royal purple color.

if the flowers appear to be growing right on the tree branches, and there are no leaves, only flowers, then it’s almost certainly a redbud. you might check out the tree identifier at http://www.arborday.org . they appear to have a mobile app now too.

Could they be lilacs? My neighbor’s lilac is blooming already, and lilacs definitely come in purple!

My guess is Cercis canadensis, as mabdc said. I grew up hearing that they’re called Judas trees because Judas Iscariot hung himself from that type. The tree ‘blushes’ in embarassment before Easter because of Judas’ betrayal of Jesus. The trees then grow leaves in the shape of hearts.

Those really deep purples ones are called Oklahoma redbuds.  We know because we loved them so much a few years back that we planted one in our front yard! 

On a sort of related note, a really good resource for plant information is the Missouri Botanical Garden website, http://www.mobot.org . They give the run down on the various redbuds, with lots of pictures.

You could order a small tree and get a rebate from Casey Trees. Since it’s a smaller canopy tree, it would qualify for up to $50 back.

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