Cercis siliquastrum – Judas Tree
A mass of pink pea-like flowers born on the bare branches in spring.
This is a small tree (up to 6m high). Flowers come out before the heart-shaped leaves, with flowers even being borne directly on the trunk. The name “Judas tree”, is a corruption of the French common name, Arbre de Judée, meaning tree of Judea, referring to the hilly regions of that country where the tree used to be common.
C siliquastrum is found in the wild from Southern Europe all the way across to East Asia. It is a plant of hillsides and woodland margins. It can grow in nutrient poor soil, having the ability to fix nitrogen. Being a significant tree, Cercis siliquastrum is best grown as a specimen plant, where it has room to develop into its full glory. Cultivars commonly grown include C. siliquastrum f. albida (syn. ‘Alba’) which has white flowers, ‘Rubra’ and ‘Bodnant’ which have dark purple-pink flowers.
Soil / Aspect:
Requires well drained soil – It is important the plant is not water-logged over winter. Will tolerate a range of soil types and pH. Best in full sun or dappled shade. Avoid exposed situations.
In spring, remove any dead or crossing growth. Pruning larger branches of a larger plant can result in canker. No special attention required over winter, as hardy down to -10oC. Generally disease free and notably resistant to Honey Fungus (Armillaria). Do not move once established.
Flowering density is best after a warm winter.