Journal Articles

Anthocyanin Pigments in Redbud (Cercis spp) Flowers

November 01, 2017

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.

Author Affiliations

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 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.

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