The Judas tree is a type of redbud tree that is native to Asian countries. It is a deciduous tree, which means that it loses it leaves in the fall and re-grows them in the spring. During late winter or early spring, this tree produces bright pink or magenta-colored blossoms that occasionally even grow on the trunk. It is sometimes rumored to be the tree that Judas Iscariot hung himself from after he betrayed Jesus.
This tree can grow to anywhere from 12 to 15 feet (3.6 to 4.7 m) in height. It might also spread anywhere from 15 to 20 feet (4.7 to 6 m) in width. It usually prefers full sunlight, but may also grow in areas of partial shade. The Judas tree is somewhat drought-resistant and usually needs only minimal watering.
The flowers of a Judas tree are typically heart-shaped. They normally begin to appear the second year after the tree is planted. An ancient legend proclaims that the flowers of this tree were originally white, but later turned dark with shame after Judas hung himself.
The leaves of this tree are also heart-shaped. They may be medium to light green in color and positioned on dark brown stems. Leaves do not normally appear on the tree until after the flowers have begun to bloom.
There are also pods on a Judas tree. These are usually long, narrow, and flat. They might be anywhere from six to eight inches (15.2 to 20.3 cm) long. They are usually a light brown color and may also have seeds inside them.
A common myth about this plant is that bees and butterflies will die if they land on one of the branches of the tree. It is sometimes believed that the flowers contain a juice which essentially puts these creatures to sleep. This legend is untrue, because the flowers of this tree cannot pollinate themselves, but rather rely on bees to do this.
The Judas tree, also known as Cercis siliquastrum, is sometimes be exported to the United States, as well as many countries in southern Europe. It is usually very easy to grow and generally requires very little pruning or maintenance. It can occasionally be struck with diseases, such as verticullum wilt, a fungus that affects the plant's leaves, and canker, which are similar to sores on a tree's trunk. People who are looking for a small ornamental tree with lots of spring color may want to consider planting a Judas tree.