Text & photos by Brian Vick, Community Kitchen Garden Coordinator, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
“Cauliflorous” or “cauliflory” is the term describing the production of flowers on the trunk and branches of woody plants, as opposed to the ends of the twigs. In this case, we’re looking at the ubiquitous eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis) – which happens to be a legume (member of the bean family: Fabaceae). Native Americans consumed redbud flowers raw or boiled, and ate roasted seeds. That’s the green seed pods, not the mature seed pods. The flowers contain anthocyanins. Images abound on the web picturing beautiful salads garnished with redbud blooms, and the blooms visible through the translucent rice wrappers of spring rolls. How appropriate… spring = redbud blooms = spring rolls.