Who Are You Calling A Forest Pansy?

What's the stupidest name you've ever heard of for a plant? For me, it's a redbud called 'Forest Pansy.' Every time I hear it, I think of Richard Simmons sweatin' with the Ewoks.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Now let me be straight about this. I like our native Eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis). In fact, it's one of the Grump's favorite trees, because it's easy to grow; has few serious pests; tolerates drought; and bears very showy -- almost electric -- pink, white, or rosy-purple flowers in spring before the leaves appear. A Southwestern form, Texas redbud (C. canadensis texensis), is even more more drought-resistant due to a waxy coating on its leaves. It also thrives in alkaline soils. Both make great lawn and patio trees and prefer full to partial sun.

But until 'Forest Pansy' came along, redbuds were all about flowers. Not anymore. Take a look.

The leaves of this cutie emerge a rich deep-purple. In areas with mild temperatures, they retain this color pretty much all summer. Here in Alabama, they hold it until it gets hot in mid-June, whereupon they fade to burgundy-green.

I don't like too many purple-leafed trees (for example, 'Thundercloud' flowering plum is a plague upon the suburbs that should be stricken from the Earth), but 'Forest Pansy' redbud is a winner. If only they would change the moronic, sissified name.

Listen, marketers, this tree wasn't found in a forest and it doesn't look like a pansy. So come up with something better. How about 'Purple Passion?' 'Purple Rain?' 'Grape Expectations?' 'Sherry Baby?' 'Merlot Choreographer?'

Anything but 'Forest Pansy.'

What do you think, Grumpians? What are some of the stupidest names you've ever heard of for plants?

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Need a good mail-order source for all sorts of redbuds? Try Sooner Plant Farm. Tell 'em Grumpy sent you. They'll say, "Who's that?"

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