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23 April 2012

Cercis siliquastrum - The Judas tree

Cercis siliquastrum commonly known as the Judas tree.

"Cercis siliquastrum, commonly known as Judas Tree, is a small deciduous tree from Southern Europe and Western Asia which is noted for its prolific display of deep-pink flowers in spring. 
This species forms a small tree up to 12 metres in height and 10 metres in width.
The deep pink flowers are produced on year-old or older growth, including the trunk in late spring (cauliflory). The leaves appear shortly after the first flowers emerge. These are heart-shaped with a blunt apex, which occasionally has a shallow notch at the tip. The tree produces long flat pods that hang vertically. The flowers are edible and purportedly have a sweet-acid taste.   The species is native to Western Asia including Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria and Southern Europe including Albania, Bulgaria, France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Turkey and Former Yugoslavia.

There is a longstanding myth that Judas Iscariot hanged himself from a tree of this species. This belief is related to the common name "Judas Tree" which is possibly a corrupted derivation from the French common name, Arbre de Judée meaning tree of Judea, referring to a region where the tree occurs."



Cercis siliquastrum commonly known as the Judas tree.


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