Western Redbud, Cercis Occidentalis
, is a shrub found in central and northern California
. It is noted, not surprisingly, by it's red pods, which persist after the leaves have fallen off for the winter
. In the spring, it has many pink flower
s, which are actually edible in small quantities. In summer, it has dark green leaves, and in autumn its leaves turns bright colors.
This plant is a legume, which means it can fix nitrogen from the air instead of requiring it in the soil. This allows it to colonize areas which have poor soils. It also is able to survive multiple fires, and is rather drought hardy, although less so than some other chaparral plants. It makes a nice landscape plant, if you live in a Mediterranean climate - if you live in colder areas you might try Eastern Redbud, which is from the east coast of the US, and is similar, except for having larger leaves.