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Steve Nix

Redbud - The Judas Tree

By March 26, 2013

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Question:
I read your article on the Judas tree today and have this quote from another source in connection with the Judas tree.

"But every insect--bee or butterfly--that ventures to rest upon the edge of its blossom is overcome by a fatal, curious sort of opiate, or sleeping-draught which the flower-juice contains, and drops dead upon the ground beneath!"

I was wondering if this is fact. Could you help with this inquiry?

My Answer:
Your Judas tree is associated with, and the common name of, many world-wide members of the redbud family (Cercis). Our native North American redbud or Cercis canadensis is a beautiful tree and a favorite food for butterfly larvae and a long-tounged bee magnet (see my photo gallery). To my knowledge, it is not an opiate and does not negatively affect any flora or fauna.

The specific redbud that is most often labeled Judas tree is Cercis siliquastrum and lives in Mediterranean and Asia minor countries. That tree is the one most associated as "Judea's tree" and is supposedly the tree Judas Iscariot hanged himself after betraying Christ.

Mature Redbud in Central Park, NYC - Photo 2007 Steve Nix, licensed to About.com

Comments

May 5, 2008 at 12:49 am
(1) audrey pagnotto says:

In the above article Redbud- The Judas Tree there is a photo of a Redbud that I guess was taken in Central Park. I know there are several varieties of Redbud and I would like to purchase one that has the violet/purple-ish blossoms shown in this photo. Could you please tell me what variety this one is? Thanks

August 8, 2009 at 12:20 pm
(2) Tom Corbett says:

Can a Judas Tree grow in South Jersey.

March 14, 2011 at 6:06 am
(3) Woodbutcher says:

I have several in my yard. They grow all over the place around here. N. W. Ohio They are small trees, with short trunks. They grow around the edges of woods and open areas, aka my yard. If there are seeds they will grow. When i first moved here there was a very large one in my yard. 25′ or so tall I had to cut it down for a building. I hated to do this but used it to heat the house later on. They are some of the first real beauty to be seen in the spring. This soon falls to the ground and a small handsome tree remains. If it grows in Ohio it will grow in S. Jersey.

March 14, 2011 at 3:14 pm
(4) Jean says:

Yes, they’ll grow in South Jersey. In Baltimore they spread all over by means of those seeds and people can end up having yards full of them if they let them get going.

May 27, 2011 at 1:06 pm
(5) Pook says:

I assume the photo is your standard Eastern Redbud. My suggestion, though, is to not get that one. Get the Forest Pansy Redbud. The bud is a little more purplish and it’s a much heartier tree and doesn’t have the problems (disease, etc.) that the standard Redbuds have.

May 28, 2011 at 9:57 am
(6) ab_forestry says:

I totally agree Pook. Stick with a recommended cultivar including the pinks and whites…

April 6, 2012 at 10:51 am
(7) Elena says:

Here on Good Friday we are having our 50ft. Eastern Redbud taken down due to disease and rot. We live near Seattle and were told when we moved in that this tree was the largest Eastern Redbud wes of the Mississippi. We are very sad to see it go.

April 30, 2012 at 5:44 pm
(8) forestry says:

Boy, would I have liked to see a picture of it. They are not very common out there. Sorry about your loss:(.

September 10, 2012 at 9:59 pm
(9) Cie J. Gray says:

The tree is supposedly the one Judas Iscariot hanged himself on after betraying Jesus Christ, our Savior to his enemies for 30 pieces of silver.

October 26, 2012 at 10:20 pm
(10) Carol Etherington says:

I have a Judas tree which flowered very well this Spring in Australia. I am in a cold area (in winter) near mountains and have a good rainfall. However, the curious thing about my tree is that the leaves are a deep maroon colour. Other friends who have trees have green leaves. The autumn colour is magic a bright red. Do I have a freak tree or can you buy Judas trees with this coloured leaf?

November 19, 2012 at 4:57 pm
(11) Jo Gavin says:

I have a Judas Tree here in Perth WestbAustralia. It grew from a seed abut three years ago. My question is how long before it will flower? It is growing well and is ow a out 3feet high but no flowers. Any ideas?

December 20, 2012 at 11:11 am
(12) Jaymie says:

I have two Judas tree in my front yard. Flowers pop out around March to June. Very pretty. Always receive compliment from my neighbors who pass by. I notice though once it rain around January, it surely get a blooming flowers. Nature is so kind to me that my yard is a mini tropical forest. Lots of birds, butterflies, worms, etc.

June 8, 2013 at 8:25 am
(13) joy says:

I have a Redbud that does not drop the pods . They have been there since they first appeared. The tree is three years old. Should I pick them off?

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