Saturday, 6 May 2017

In praise of Judas tree flowers

Today, going through London, I was struck  by the presence of so many trees bearing hot pink flowers clustered along their trunks. What tree is that? I thought, never having noticed it before. It's possible I never travelled through the right sort of place at the right time of year, but equally possible that the trees have not flowered so enthusiastically in some years. The weather has been strange. Some years just suit a plant.

So, allow me to introduce Cercis siliquastrum, the fabulous Judas Tree, a useful smaller tree popular with pollinators. There are the usual run of explanations from the name, but my favourite is the explaination that fruit and flowers hang directly from the trunk, like tiny suicides.

Judas tree flowers

canopy with petals     fallen petals

We found one in a sunny square in London, and I took enough photographs for confident identification. The tree was humming with bees, and so were the fallen blooms on the ground. Presumably the flowers stay sweet enough long enough to make that worthwhile.

Spot the bee! Clue - it's dead centre.

bee and fallen petals

Sadly I don't have space for one of these at home (I have a Service Bush in my useful graceful smaller tree space) but if you do, it's a good one. In the autumn there's bright colour and dangling seed pods; and the branches are elegant in shape.

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