Cersis siliquastrum or Judean tree

Cersis siliquastrum or Judean tree

El cersis siliquastrum It is a curious tree that stands out for much more than the fact that it belongs to the group of plants known with related nicknames in Catholic tradition. Since it is also often called the Judean tree (because it is found mostly in Israel, what was ancient Judea) or Judas tree. If you don't recognize it by these names, you may have heard it called crazy carob or redbud.

According to a classic story, after betraying Jesus Christ, Judas hanged himself from a tree of this species. For this reason, today it is better known as the Judean tree than by its empirical name. If you want to know a little more about him, keep reading.

Origin and natural habitat of cersis siliquastrum

Origin and natural habitat of cersis siliquastrum

This time we are talking about a deciduous tree that It is part of the Fabaceae or Leguminosae family., which turns out to be one of the largest and most diverse in the plant kingdom. Composed of a wide variety of plants including trees, shrubs, herbs and vines. Furthermore, within it there are plants with great nutritional value, such as legumes.

The history of this tree is linked to the figure of Judas, but the truth is that its existence goes back much further in time. It is a kind native to the Mediterranean and western Asia. So its habitat covers regions with a Mediterranean climate of dry, hot summers and mild winters.

Wildly it grows in deciduous forests, rocky slopes, river banks and open wooded areas. In addition, it is a species that is cultivated as an ideal decorative tree for gardens and to which some therapeutic uses are attributed.

Characteristics of cersis siliquastrum

Characteristics of cersis siliquastrum

There are a series of physical features that allow you to quickly distinguish the Judean tree:

Size and shape

This is a medium-sized tree, whose height usually ranges between four and 10 meters. Its growth habit is between rounded and extensive, forming a wide and extended crown.

When grown for ornamental purposes, it is usual to work the crown through pruning to give it a rounded shape.


When the tree is young, its bark shows a smooth texture of a grayish to light brown color. Over time it is common for it to become rough and show some cracks. Therefore, looking at the trunk of the tree, We can now know if we are dealing with a young specimen or an old one.

The type of wood that the Judas tree produces is known to be hard and quite resistant. It has a fine and uniform texture that makes it suitable for detailed work. However, due to its strength and density, it is difficult to work with hand tools. That's why, It is not as common in carpentry and cabinetmaking as other varieties of wood.


The leaves of the Judea tree are bright green during spring and summer. As autumn progresses, they become golden yellow color until they finally break off the branch.

They are alternate, simple leaves, with smooth edges and a shape that slightly resembles a heart.


The flowering time of this tree is the beginning of spring. As soon as the temperatures rise, it is common to see its flowers, even before the leaves begin to sprout.

The peculiarity is that these grow directly on the trunk, and have a striking violet-pink color, and their shape resembles that of a butterfly.

Continuing with the legend around this tree, it is said that its flowers represent the tears of Christ, and its Very vivid violet pink color represents the shame of the traitor.


After flowering, flat pods appear that mature throughout the summer and autumn. These pods are full of seeds that disperse or fall during the winter and allow the appearance of new specimens of cersis siliquastrum.


The roots of this tree are shallow, which makes this variety sensitive to drought, since it cannot seek water and nutrients in the deeper layers of the soil.

Therapeutic uses of cersis siliquastrum

This variety is not particularly known for its therapeutic uses, but some of its parts have been used anecdotally in popular medicine.

Some studies suggest that the extracts obtained from its leaves and flowers have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties due to the presence of phenolic compounds and flavonoids. Compounds that are also of interest for the formulation of cosmetic products and dietary supplements.

In the field of phytotherapy, infusions or decoctions of leaves and flowers of the Judea tree are used to treat conditions such as cough or digestive problems.

Within gem therapy, the buds of this tree are used to relieve pain related to blood circulation.

Essential care for cersis siliquastrum

Essential care for cersis siliquastrum

This is a species that is cultivated mainly for ornamental purposes. If you are considering the possibility of having it in your garden, keep in mind some basic questions regarding its care:

  • Location. Place the tree in a sunny location. Place it near other plants, because it has the peculiarity of being able to fix atmospheric nitrogen in the soil, which turns out to be a great natural fertilizer for plants that are nearby. If you have an orchard, consider planting it in the vicinity, because it can be of great help to combat the silos of species such as apple trees or olive trees.
  • Irrigation. During the first years it needs regular watering. Once established it can tolerate drought, but only for short periods of time. Therefore, it is advisable to water regularly during the summer.
  • Pruning. It does not require regular pruning, but you can prune it in late winter or early spring to shape it and remove dead or damaged branches.
  • Protection against the cold. It can withstand light frosts, but extremely cold temperatures can damage this tree. To protect it, apply a layer of mulch around the base of the tree and cover the crown during frosty nights.

The cersis siliquastrum is a tree that is not very demanding in terms of its care, and is worth observing when it is in flower. Do you dare to have it in your garden?

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