CercisJudas-tree, Cercis siliquastrum (Caesalpineae) is a small Leguminous tree native to the south of France, Iberia, Italy, Greece and Asia Minor, which forms a handsome low tree with a flat spreading head. In early spring it is covered with a profusion of magenta pink flowers, which appear before the leaves. The flowers have an agreeably acidic bite, and are eaten in mixed salad or made into fritters. The tree was frequently figured in the 16th and 17th century herbals. The elaborate mediaeval mythology that developed round the figure of Judas Iscariot would have had him hang himself from this tree, which may suggest that it was among the European trees that had some pre-Christian cultic significance.
A smaller Eastern American woodland understory tree, Redbud, C. canadensis, is common from Canada to piedmont Alabama and eastern Texas. It differs from the European Cercis species in its smaller size and pointed leaves. The flowers are also used in salads and for making pickled relish, while the inner bark of twigs gives a mustard-yellow dye.