Judas tree (Cercis canadensis)

The Cercis canadensis is very striking for its abundant and delicate pink flowers. During the months of April and May it offers a beautiful spring show that resembles the illustration of a fairy tale. These easy to grow and maintain trees offer excellent landscaping to behold.

Being a shrub or small tree, it is simple and very noble care. The structure of the branches and shape of the leaves makes it combine perfectly with temperate climates. This small tree is ideal for growing in the northern part of the equator.

Origin and characteristics of Cercis Canadensis

The Cercis canadensis is a species of tree of the family Fabaceae. The place of origin of this species is the East of North America. It ranges from Ontario in Canada to Florida in the United States, and species is even known east of Mexico.

This tree is also known by the names of Canada redbud, eastern redbud, and Judas tree. The word Cercis has its origin in ancient Greek whose meaning is redbud. Canadensis is the epithet that obviously refers to the place where it comes from, Canada.


This is a small tree or large shrub that can grow up to 6 to 9 meters tall. Its branches spread between 8 and 10 meters and at ten years of age it can be approximately five meters high with a trunk with twisted characteristics and dark bark. The branches are spread in a zigzag and are thin black.

The stem and branches go through a range of chestnut, reddish, brown and black colors depending on the maturation of the plant. The leaves are heart-shaped, 7 to 12 cm broad. The texture is paper thin with hairy, while they are young, when fully developed they are smooth dark green. In autumn the color of the leaves is light yellow and bright.

The flowers of this tree are very showy, their color is magenta pink and there are even white, violet and lavender. They appear in the form of clusters of four or eight flowers between March and May.

The flowers have five petals with a dark red bell-shaped calyx. It has ten stamens and the pistil is a superior ovary that is pollinated by long-tongued bees. The fruit is small and flat that contains small elliptical 6 mm brown seeds that ripen between August and October.


The Cercis canadensis is a tree or shrub easy to plant and maintain. The first thing to do is find a good location for them. Its adaptability allows it to tolerate direct sun especially during winter and light shade is very good in summer.

The younger the tree, the easier it will be to transplant it. It is preferable to acquire it in a nursery located in the same area where it will be planted since it will be acclimated to the conditions. Cercis prefers loose, well-draining soils, so sand or coarse grains can be added. Fertilizer is not necessary.

The next step is to dig a hole four times the diameter of the root, the depth of which is equal to the height of the root. Then the tree should be placed as upright as possible, adding a little earth and then a lot of water, after the soil has absorbed the water, the rest of the earth is placed. Finally, it is watered again and a mulch that can be bark chips is placed to retain moisture.


It is important to make sure that the roots are kept moist and drained. It can tolerate droughts, but for very short periods. Pruning is done in late fall or late spring when you no longer have flowers. Diseased wood, old branches and those that are growing interwoven or too bent are removed. Never prune more than 25% of the tree.

The judas tree does not require fertilizers because this tree can absorb nitrogen on its own. If you want to fertilize, you should use a product with a high content of phosphorus and potassium and slow release, applying only once before the growing season.

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