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Products > Cercis siliquastrum
 
Cercis siliquastrum - Judas Tree
   

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Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Tree
Family: Caesalpiniaceae (~Fabales)
Origin: Mediterranean (Europe)
Flower Color: Magenta
Bloomtime: Spring
Height: 15-25 feet
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 0-10 F
Cercis siliquastrum (Judas Tree) - A slender-trunked tree from southern Europe and western Asia (Iberia, southern France, Italy, Greece and Asia Minor). A moderate grower reaching up to 15' to 25' in height and almost as wide with 3" to 5" long alternate, simple heart-shaped leaves that emerge a rich bronze reddish purple and turn a dark green with age. It produces a breathtaking display of 3" to 5" clusters of magenta flowers before the leaves emerge in early spring on year old growth and older stems. Place in full sun to partial shade and provide a moist well-drained soil. Established trees are drought tolerant and cold hardy to 10-15 degrees F. A very nice small tree in the woodland garden. A great example in Santa Barbara is the tree in front of our Natural History Museum. This tree comes from woodlands of the Mediterranean regions of southeastern Europe to southwestern Asia. The name for the genus comes from the Greek word 'kerkis' which means "weaver's shuttle", alluding to the shape of the seed pods. This specific epithet was given to this plant by Carl Linnaeus in 1753 and comes from the Latin word 'siliqua' meaning "pod" and 'astrum' a substantive suffix for "partial resemblance" and used to distinguish wild plants from cultivated ones. The common name reference to Judas comes from a legend stating that Judas Iscariot, the money carrier for the disciples and the betrayer of Jesus in the New Testament, hanged himself on this type of tree and caused the tree to blush with embarrassment. Also known as the Mediterranean Redbud or the Love Tree. We first grew this tree from 2004 to 2008 and though we regarded it as a worthwhile plant, it was under appreciated and we stopped growing it. Our thanks go out to to the San Luis Obispo Botanic Garden, who provided encouragement and seed, allowing us to grow it again in 2011.  This description is based on research and observations of this plant as it grows in our nursery, in our nursery garden and in other gardens that we visit. We also incorporate comments received and appreciate getting feedback of any kind from those who have any additional information about this plant, particularly if they disagree with what we have written or if they have additional cultural tips that would aid others in growing Cercis siliquastrum.
 
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