Classification, origin and diffusion
Family: Leguminosae (Cesalpiniaceae)
It is probably an autochthonous plant throughout the Mediterranean and Southern Europe, up to the coasts of the Black Sea. It is found in the bushes, preferably on calcareous soil, up to 300-400 meters above sea level, together with holm oak, downy oak and Bagolaro. . In Italy it is present, generally in bushy formations, and in all regions up to the Pre-Alps.
Judas tree in summer (website photo)
Flowers of the Judas tree
Judas tree in bloom
Fruits of the Judas tree in early summer (photo website)
Size, trunk and bark
Up to 8 meters tall, it has a rounded, fairly dense, light green crown. Slender trunk, more or less oblique and sinuous, has a dark brown cracked and wrinkled bark.
Deciduous and alternate, with a long petiole, rounded heart-shaped or reniform, light green.
Hermaphroditic flowers, gathered in sessile cluster inflorescences (4-6). They are present on the whole plant and have a pink-purple color; there are also white-flowered varieties (alba). It blooms in the months of March and April, before the appearance of the leaves. The fruit is an elongated and flattened legume, initially with reddish shades then brown when ripe. 8-12 cm long and persists on the plant throughout the winter. The lenticular seeds are dark brown.
Appreciated ornamental species, it is widely used for urban decoration and in parks for its beautiful spring flowering and for its resistance to the city atmosphere. The dark veined reddish wood is hard and is used in cabinet making. It does not need particular pruning.