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Blossoms that grow on branches and trunk

In April, the Judas tree is a cloud of pink blossom. You can't help noticing it, because the branches of the small tree spread widely and the pink clusters of blossom are everywhere on the tree, not just on the thin twigs, but also on the thicker branches and the trunk. This is in contrast to the normal habit of bushes and trees where blossom appears only on the smaller twigs. The Judas tree uses every square centimetre to sport its blossom.

From pink to brilliant yellow

The blossom of a Judas tree looks especially lovely combined with contrasting blue flowers from bulbs like dwarf iris, chionodoxa and. The kidney-shaped leaves appear soon after the blossom, so that patterns of bright green are soon mixed with the pink. In autumn, the leaves turn vivid yellow.

The legend of the Judas tree

According to legend, Judas is supposed to have hanged himself on a Judas tree after betraying Christ – hence the name – and the tree turned red and pink in shame. An interesting theory as to why the blossoms appear on the trunk of the tree is that they are then also reachable for non-flying pollinators.

Edible sweet-sour blossoms

It doesn't matter if children put the blossoms in their mouths, because they are edible. They taste sweet and slightly sour and are rich in vitamin C. Judas tree seeds, however, contain small amounts of the amino acid canavanine, which can cause mild digestive upsets. But you have to eat an awful of seeds before this happens. It's thought that this is part of the tree's defence against insects. You can preserve flower buds in vinegar and use them like capers with no worries about stomach upsets. 


Source: Anne Staeves, www.aid.de