Monday, September 22, 2008

Cercis siliquastrum,The Judas Tree

Cercis siliquastrum  
The Judas Tree in Wollongong Botanic Gardens
This spectacular spring flowering tree which has masses of rosy-purple pea flowers crowding the bare branches is native of the eastern Mediterranean and is a familiar sight on the dry sunny hillsides throughout the French Riviera. With age it develops an attractive gnarled appearance ,a bit like a giant bonsai. The branches are in fact quite pliable so it can be trained to grow over a pergola or similar structure. In the Cote d'Azur garden Villa Noailles at Grasse it has been trained in this way and has been combined with the white flowering form C.s.'Alba' to great effect.
The rounded leaves which appear later are similar to a Bauhinia. After flowering, purple tinged flattened seed pods appear which last on the tree well into summer. They are also very decorative.

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