As fall advances across the Old Dominion, canopies of redbud, the 2013 VNPS Wildflower of the Year, transform themselves from green to gold, revealing seed pods also changing color from pale green to dark chocolaty brown. These seedpods, which may be retained on the tree into winter, are typical legume fruits, the product of the flower’s simple pistil, each containing several seeds. Unlike most legumes, however, redbud seed pods seem disinclined to open and release individual seeds for dispersal. Redbud fruits tend to disperse intact. Once on the ground, the inevitable action of weather and microbes gradually degrades the pod, whereupon the process of seed germination can proceed.

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2013

Publisher Statement

Copyright © 2013, Virginia Native Plant Society. This article first appeared in Bulletin of the Virginia Native Plant Society: 32:5 (2013), 1, 6.

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