JC Raulston Arboretum

Cercis (Redbud) Collection

Holder:
JC Raulston Arboretum
North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC
www.ncsu.edu/jcraulstonarboretum
Interim Director, Ted Bilderback
Asst. Director/Curator of Collections, Mark Weathington

Primary Focus:
Collection represents broad taxonomic diversity including cultivars

Scope:
40 taxa, including 7 species
87.5% from cultivated sources


Description:
The JC Raulston Arboretum has been growing Cercis since 1978, building a significant Collection of broad taxonomic diversity. The mild temperate climate where the arboretum is located in North Carolina allows all presently described species and cultivars in the genus to be grown. The Arboretum's recently completed master plan designates a prominent location for the Cercis Collection, as well as additional sites for featuring individual specimens in Plantman's Woods and Asian Valley. The ultimate goals of the Collection are to evaluate and showcase the diversity, beauty, and survivability of Cercis, develop improved selections through controlled breeding, utilize as a teaching collection for university courses, evaluate selections for garden worthiness, and provide propagules for researchers and nurseries.

A certain level of taxonomic uncertainty exists regarding the total species in the genus, with different sources listing six to eleven distinct species. This Collection currently holds seven of these species, with plans to actively acquire additional species in the wild in China. Many sub-specific forms and cultivated selections are in the trade, many of which are not registered. Dr. Dennis Werner, former director of the JC Raulston Arboretum, maintains an active breeding program involving Cercis and will be releasing new selections over the next several years. These introductions will include weeping purple and variegated forms, and purple-leaved C. canadensis var. texensis varieties.

October 2008, updated 1/2009