Penelope Perkins Veazie, Guoying Ma and Dennis Werner (2017). Anthocyanin Pigments in Redbud (Cercis spp) Flowers. The Scientific Pages of Horticulture, 1(1):13-18.
Department of Horticultural Science, Plants for Human Health Institute, North Carolina State University, USA
Redbud (Cercis spp.) is used as a spring flowering ornamental tree and is found wild in much of North America. Typically flowers are light purple although there are selected cultigens that are white, rose, or red-purple. Flowers from cultigens common to the eastern U.S. and from wild Eastern redbud (C. canadensis) were collected and tested for color and anthocyanin pigment composition. The anthocyanins cyanidin 3-glucoside, petunidin 3-glucoside, peonidin 3-glucoside, and malvidin 3-glucoside were most aboundant in purple, rose, and red-purple redbud flowers and total anthocyanin content was 2263 to 8730 mg.kg DW-1. Small amounts of delphinidin, cyanidin, and petunidin 3, diglucosides were also present. Most of the typical purple-flowered redbuds contained cyanidin 3-glucoside as the dominant pigment, while the red-purple flowered ‘Appalachian Red’ and ‘Crosswicks Red’ contained malvidin 3,5-diglucoside as the dominant anthocyanin. An unknown anthocyanin was present in all redbud flowers, and was higher in the red-purple flowered phenotypes. These results show that the color of redbud flowers is from anthocyanins, predominantly cyanidin 3-glucoside and malvidin 3,5-diglucoside, with malvidin 3,5-diglucoside as the primary pigment in red-purple flowers and cyanidin 3-glucoside dominant in purple flowers.