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Cercis siliquastrum

Cercis siliquastrum , Photo: Michael Lahanas

Cladus: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Divisio: Magnoliophyta
Classis: Magnoliopsida
Subclassis: Rosidae
Ordo: Fabales
Familia: Fabaceae
Subfamilia: Caesalpinioideae
Tribus: Cercideae
Subtribus: Cercidinae
Genus: Cercis
Species: Cercis siliquastrum


Cercis siliquastrum L.


* Species Plantarum 1:374. 1753
* USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN) [Data from 07-Oct-06]. 9945

Vernacular names
Italiano: Albero di Giuda
日本語: セイヨウハナズオウ

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 species was first described by Linnaeus in 1753, who gave it the specific epithet of siliquastrum which is derived from the Latin word siliqua, meaning "pod".

Varieties and subspecies include:

* var. hebecarpa Bornm.
* nothosubsp. yaltikirii (Ponert) Govaerts
* var. siliquastrum
* var. alba Weston


Synonyms include:

* Siliquastrum orbicularis Moench

Distribution and ecological aspects

The species is native to Western Asia, including Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria and Southern Europe including Albania, Bulgaria, France, Greece, Italy, Turkey and Yugoslavia

The flowers are hermaphrodite and are pollinated by bees.


Judas Tree prefers deep, fertile, well-drained soils and a position in full sun or partial shade. It is drought tolerant.

Cultivars include:

* 'Alba' - white flowers
* 'Bodnant' - dark pink-purple flowers
* 'Rubra' - dark pink-purple flowers

The tree is susceptible to leafhoppers, scale insects and psyllids (specifically Cacopsylla pulchella) as well as diseases including canker, coral spot and verticillium wilt.

Propagation is by seed, cuttings or budding.

The species produces hard wood with an attractive grain. It is used in veneers and polishes well.


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.[1]

Cultural References

* The Judas Tree (Jonathan Creek)


1. ^ Mabberley, D.J. (2008). Mabberleys's plant-book (3 ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 170. ISBN 9780521820714.

* Rowell, Raymond J. (1980). Ornamental Flowering Trees in Australia. Australia: AH & AW Reed Pty LtdReed. ISBN 0-589-50178-X.
* Plants for a future database: Cercis siliquastrum
* International Legume Database & Information Service (ILDIS): Cercis siliquastrum
* The Royal Horticultural Society : Circus siliquastrum
* USDA Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN): Cercis siliquastrum
* Wildflowers of Israel : Judas tree

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Source: Wikipedia, Wikispecies: All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License