Redbuds are one of the park’s most beautiful native trees. They are versatile trees that tolerate both sun and shade. Their name comes from the plant’s red flower buds, which appear in early April. These buds can be found all over the tree’s trunk and branches, unlike many other flowering trees. This trait is known as being ramiflorous, a rare trait in non-tropical trees. Bean-like seed pods appear after the flowers, hanging on to the branches through the winter.
Though all varieties of redbuds are known for their heart-shaped leaves, Madison Square Park has many beautiful cultivars. Some have marbled white and burgundy leaves, others are dappled green and ivory white, and even one that turns from peach to lime green over the course of summer. Some varieties in the park include the ‘Pauline Lily’, which has dainty pink flowers, and the ‘Vanilla Twist’, which is a weeping, white-flowered variety.