Cercis siliquastrum is commonly k nown as the Judas Tree and is a small (12 meters) deciduous tree from southern Europe and western Asia. It is particularly noted for its profusion of deep pink blossom in spring, produced on the older growth before the leaves appear. Seeds are long pods that dangle down. They prefer deep, well drained soils and love sunny positions.
Some cultivars have deep purple flowers. others pink or white. The wood is hard with attractive grain and takes polish well so is sometimes used in veneers.
Funky Facts File: The flowers are edible having a sweet but acidic taste. It has long been believed to have medicinal properties in the middle east and there are studies demonstrating it as a treatment for breast cancer!
There is a myth that Judas Iscariot hanged himself from a Judas tree, but this probably arose after the corruption of the original name in Europe that was the Judea Tree, that country being a place the trees are common.
Another false myth is that bees are killed by its nectar, nonsense as bees are the main pollinating insect of the Judas Tree.