is a genus comprising 6-10 species of flowering plants in the family Fabaceae, native to warm temperate regions.
The small deciduous shrubs or trees in this genus are grown for their attractive heart-shaped leaves which take on good autumn colors, and pinkish-red flowers that appear in early spring on leafless shoots. Cercis species are also food plants for larvae of some Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths) species including Mouse Moth.
(Judas Tree), 10 m high and across, is native to southern Europe and southwest Asia. It is a remarkable low tree with a flat spreading head, bearing a profusion of magenta pink flowers in early spring, which appear before the leaves. The magenta pink flowers are produced on year-old or older growth, including on the trunk in late spring. The flowers are hermaphrodite (having both male and female reproductive organs) and are pollinated by bees. The tree also produces flat pods that hang vertically. Its leaves are an attractive glaucousgreen, turning rich yellow in autumn. It is a fine feature in the garden.
(Eastern Redbud), 10 m high and across, is a large shrub or small tree native to the eastern North America. It generally has a short, often twisted trunk and spreading branches. The heart-shaped leaves are tinged with bronze when they first emerge and turn yellow before they fall in autumn. It produces flowers that are showy, light to dark magenta pink in color. They appear in clusters from March to May on bare stems before the leaves. Flowers are pollinated by long-tongued bees such as blueberry bees and carpenter bees. The fruit is a flattened, dry, brown in color, pea-like pod of 5-10 cm long. The pod contains 10-12 seeds of 6 mm long, flat, elliptical and chestnut-brown color, maturing in August to October.
Cercis is a drought tolerant tree and grows well full sun or partial shade, in deep, fertile, and well-drained soil. Propagations is by seed in autumn; semi-ripe cuttings in summer. Pests and diseases are cacopsylla pulchella, leafhoppers, scale insects, canker, coral spot and verticillium wilt.
Cercis canadensis 'Forest play'
Cercis occidentalis (Western redbud)