Cercis siliquastrum, Judas Tree, Mediterranean Redbud, fresh seeds 2022zsa
Cercis siliquastrum, comminly known as Judas Tree or Mediterranean Redbud
Maltese name: Siġra ta' Ġuda, Ħarrub ta' Ġuda
Cercis siliquastrum is a small deciduous tree from Southern Europe and Western Asia which is noted for its prolific display of deep pink to purple flowers in spring. It is also referred to as a traditional Palestinian medicinal plant for its origins and studies demonstrating its impact on breast cancer.
This species forms a small tree up to 12 m (39 ft) in height and 10 m (32 ft) in width.
The deep pink flowers are produced on year-old or older growth, including the trunk, in spring. Also, the flowers display a blossom with five free petals and fused sepals. This flower shape is typical of the pea family (Fabaceae). The leaves appear shortly after the first flowers emerge. These are cordate with a blunt apex, which occasionally has a shallow notch at the tip. The tree produces long flat pods that hang vertically. The flowers are edible and purportedly have a sweet-acid taste.
The species was first described by Linnaeus in 1753 and he gave it the specific epithet of siliquastrum which is derived from the Latin word siliqua, meaning "pod". The generic name comes from the Greek kerkis, a "shuttle", which refers to the resemblance shown to this weaver's tool by the flat, woody seedpods.
The flowers are pollinated by bees, attracted by nectar. Pollen from the protruding stamens is deposited on the bee's body and carried to another flower's stigma.
In Israel the tree has a status of a protected plant.
The species prefers deep, well-drained soils and a position in full sun or partial shade.
The tree is susceptible to leafhoppers, scale insects and psyllids as well as diseases including canker, coral spot and verticillium wilt.
Propagation is by seed, cuttings or budding.
Sowing time: early spring
Germination temperature: 15-20°C
Pre-Treatment: soak in hot water for 24 hours
Sowing mix: compost for seeds and cuttings
Water: keep moist
Germination time: 7-10 days
Germination Method: Judas seeds have a very shallow dormancy combined with a hard, water-impermeable seed coat and require pre-treatment for successful germination to occur. Without pre-treatment it is likely that 10% or less of the seeds will germinate.
1. Place the seeds in a heat proof container and pour hot (near boiling) water over them and leave them to soak for 24 hours. Seeds will have swollen to around 2-3 times their previous size. These seeds can be placed in a plastic bag and stored in the fridge. Treatment can be repeated up to 3 times.
2. The remaining method is to physically breakthrough the seed coat by cutting or (k)nicking the edge of the seed with a nail clip or rubbing them on sandpaper. Put the seeds in cold water for 12-24 hours.
Successfully pre-treated seeds shall go through cold stratification. Mix the seeds with a free draining mix of moist compost or perlite and store sealed in plastic bag or container in the fridge at (4 Celsius or 39F) for at least 1 week. It is quite possible for the seeds to germinate in the bag at these temperatures when they are ready to do so, if they do, just remove them from the bag and carefully plant them up.
After a week in the fridge the seed should be ready to be planted. Small quantities can be sown in pots or seed trays filled with a good quality compost and cover them with a thin layer of compost no more than 5 mm deep
The seed usually germinates from a week to 10 days at 15-20°c. It is important that temperatures or not greatly higher than this or germination will be reduced. The roots are delicate, and seedlings should be individually potted up as soon as possible since plants quickly become intolerant of root disturbance.
Plant them out into their permanent positions in late summer if they have made sufficient growth, otherwise in late spring of the following year.