The second Saturday in March ushers in the annual pomp of the Redbud Festival for StickerTalk’s hometown of Buna, Texas. This spring celebration began with the establishment of the Miss Buna Pageant in 1957, an effort by the Buna Volunteer Fire Department to raise money for their fledgling organization. A truly down-home event, the first Miss Buna competitions involved a homemade velvet robe and a cardboard crown for the newly crowned Miss Buna along with donated stage décor from a local funeral home. Eventually, the pageant spawned a parade and a subsequent carnival. Named in honor of Buna’s abundance of brilliant redbud trees, the Redbud Festival continues to bring members of the community together for several days of celebration. In this edition of The StickerTalk, join us on a nature hike into the forests of East Texas to explore the floral facts and historical roots of Buna’s blossoming redbuds.
While the redbud tree is primarily valued for its ornamental qualities, parts of the plant are edible! Native Americans used its bark and roots to cure illnesses such as the cold and the flu. Redbud flowers contain more vitamin C than oranges, making it a nutritious snack for anyone who can stomach its rather sour flavor. Additionally, the redbud’s branches have been utilized to make baskets, bows, and tools.
A common nickname for the redbud is the “Judas tree.” Folklore holds that Judas Iscariot hanged himself from the branches of a redbud after betraying Jesus Christ, causing the tree’s formerly white blossoms to turn red with shame.
Like most of us, the redbud tree boasts some, er… interesting relatives. Because this tree is a member of the legume family, it shares its lineage with both peas and beans! Perhaps the easiest way to observe this relation is to examine the redbud’s seedpods. Upon closer review, redbud seedpods bear a striking resemblance to pea pods.