|Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture|
Cercis (Kerkis, ancient Greek name). Leguminosae. Judas Tree. Red-bud. Trees or shrubs grown for their pink flowers profusely produced early in spring before the leaves; very interesting, also, in mode of branching, as seen in mature trees.
Leaves deciduous, alternate, petioled, palmately nerved, entire: fls. papilionaceous, pedicelled, pink or red, appearing before or with the lvs., in clusters or racemes from the old wood; calyx 5-toothed, red; petals nearly equal, the uppermost somewhat smaller: pod compressed, narrow-oblong, narrow-winged on the ventral suture, many-seeded.—-Seven species in N. Amer., and from S. Eu. to Japan.
These trees and shrubs are very ornamental, with handsome distinct foliage and abundant showy flowers in spring, very effective by their deep pink color. They are well adapted for shrubberies or as single specimens on the lawn, and attain rarely more than 20 or 30 feet in height, forming a broad, irregular head when older. Only C. canadensis is hardy North, while C. chinensis can still be grown in sheltered positions near Boston, but is occasionally injured in severe winters; the others can not be grown successfully farther north than New York. They grow best in rich sandy and somewhat moist loam, and should be transplanted when young, as older plants can hardly be moved with success. Young plants, four or five years old, produce flowers freely and may be recommended for forcing, especially C. chinensis and C. racemosa, which are the most beautiful of all. Propagated by seeds, sown in spring, best with gentle bottom heat; sometimes increased by layers, or by greenwood cuttings from forced plants in early spring; C. chinensis grows also from greenwood cuttings in summer under glass.CH
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