The Eastern Redbud tree is part of the Fabaceae family. That’s the pea family.
The Redbud tree is beneficial for a number of reasons. It is very hearty in the lower plains and eastern portions of the United States and grows wild as well as domestically.
The tree is very distinct because it has the red/fuchsia flowers that bloom in the early spring. Generally around April here in zone 7.
The flowers of the tree attract beneficial bugs such as hummingbirds and bees. In our tree we also have praying mantis egg sacs.
Flowers: can be eaten raw or fried; although, the base of the flower is bitter, so it’s best to pinch it off and eat the petals. The flowers have a slightly sweet taste. The flowers contain anthocyanins which create the purplish color.
Leaves: can be eaten raw or cooked. Taste like pea pods and are substituted when pea pods are not directly available.
Seed pods: the seed pods develop in the late summer to early fall. The immature pods are flat and green and can be harvested. The pods contain condensed tannins (proanthocyanidin) and essential fatty acids (linolenic, alpha-linolenic, oleic and palmitic acids).
Newly formed branches: can be cut off and used to smoke wild game.
The branches of the tree are said to be treatments for whooping cough and dysentery.
The roots and inner bark can be used for the treatment of congestion, fevers and vomiting.