Cercis, commonly known as Redbud trees or Judas trees, display clusters of brightly coloured, small pea-like flowers on bare branches in spring. These are followed by decorative seed pods later in the year. The wonderful heart shaped foliage also features fantastic autumn colour.
Cercis trees are wonderful feature packed deciduous bushy trees and shrubs. We offer a number of varieties in a range of sizes, habits and forms, so there is something to suit any sized space.
Their best features include the clusters of small, bright flowers adorning the bare branches. Cercis flowers are available in shades of pink, purple and white and are popular with bees for the large amount of nectar available. The flowers are followed by colourful heart-shaped leaves that come in blue-green or vibrant lime colours. Long, dark coloured seed pods hang from the foliage as it bursts with warm, autumn colours later in the year.
Redbud trees can tolerate both sheltered and exposed positions and prefer deep, well-drained soils in a full sun or partially shaded position. For further information on planting Redbud trees, visit our help and advice page or take a look at our planting essentials to help get you started.
Cercis is part of the Caesalpiniaceae family and is made up of 7 different varieties. The name Cercis comes from the Greek kerkis meaning ‘shuttle’, which refers to the shape of the flat seedpods that decorate the branches in autumn and resemble a weaver’s shuttle tool.
Cercis siliquastrum, a variety of Cercis, is commonly known as the 'Judas tree', due to the long-standing myth that Judas Iscariot (one of Jesus’ twelve apostles), hanged himself from a Redbud tree. Fitting with this myth, the flowers and seedpods are believed to hang down from the branches imitating Judas' suicide. The deep pink flowers that appear on Cercis siliquastrum in the spring are said to blush pink in shame because of the suicide. Following this, it is also said that if you stand under a Judas tree and tell a lie, you will drop down dead! Another interpretation of the name ‘Judas tree’ stems from the French common name, Arbre de Judée, which means tree of Judea, referring to the hilly regions of that country where this variety of tree used to be common.