Cercis canadensis

‘Forest Pansy’

Family: Caesalpiniaceae.
Landscape value: A superb small tree that is an excellent choice for a landscape where a colourful, elegant, purple-leafed tree is required. This tree is easily adapted as a multi-stemmed or central leader tree depending on requirements. A consistent performer, ideal for small areas.
Height: 5 metres.
Width: 5 metres.
Growth rate: Slow to moderate.
Habit: Open and low branching, forming a flat-topped canopy. The young branches have a distinct ‘zig-zag’ habit.
Foliage: Large heart-shaped leaves open up in spring to a brilliant eye-catching shade of reddish-purple with a velvety-satin appearance, deepening to purplish-black then fading to purplish-green in summer. Generally exhibits brilliant yellow to orange autumn colours.
Flowers: Masses of small, pink, ‘pea’-like flowers borne in groups along the branches before the leaves appear in spring.
Fruit: Overseas literature refers to pods 50-80 mm long. Not observed in Australia to date.
Bark: Dark reddish-brown, becoming rougher and greyer with age.
Tolerances: Wide range including acid or alkaline soils but is easily stressed and resents prolonged dry or very wet sites.
Comments: Prefers a moist, deep, well drained fertile soil. Best foliage colour in full sun, but avoid hot, exposed and windy sites. Overseas reports indicate a susceptibility to canker. Has become highly sought-after in recent years.