Cercis siliquastrum


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Judas tree

A small deciduous tree up to 12 m from Southern Europe and Western Asia is noted for its prolific display of deep pink flowers in spring,  flowers are produced on year-old or older growth, including the trunk in late spring. The leaves appear shortly after the first flowers emerge. The flowers are edible and purportedly have a sweet-acid taste.

Judas seeds have a very shallow dormancy combined with a hard, water-impermeable seed coat and require pre-treatment for successful germination to occur. Without pre-treatment, it is likely that 10% or less of the seeds will germinate. A combination of a variety of seed pre-treatments is usually necessary to make the seed coat permeable so that the seed embryo can take up water and begin to germinate. The first (and easiest) method is to place the seeds in a heatproof container and pour hot (near boiling) water over them and leave them to soak for between 24 hours. Seeds that have been successfully pretreated will have swollen to around 2-3 times their previous size. Remove all swollen seeds as these will be damaged by further pretreatments. These seeds can be placed in a plastic bag and placed in the fridge for temporary storage. This hot water treatment can be repeated up to 3 times, making the water a little hotter each time. The remaining method is to physically breakthrough the seed coat by cutting or (k)nicking the edge of the seed with a knife or using a file or even rubbing them between layers of fine sandpaper. All of these methods can be used to break through the seed coat. Once you have done this soak the seeds in cold water for 12-24 hours and successfully treated seeds will have imbibed water and swollen greatly. Any that have not could be scarified again followed by another water soak. Sow all the seeds, even those that remain small as they may germinate much later (perhaps years later). Next, the seeds require a cold period to break the final part of the dormancy, this is easily achieved by mixing the seeds with a free-draining mix of moist compost placing the bag in the fridge at (4 Celsius or 39F) for at least 1 week. It is quite possible for the seeds to germinate in the bag at these temperatures when they are ready to do so, if they do, just remove them from the bag and carefully plant them up.
After a week in the fridge, the seed should be ready to be planted. Small quantities can be sown in pots or seed trays filled with good quality compost and cover them with a thin layer of compost no more than 5 mm deep. The seed usually germinates from a week to 10 days at 15-20°c. It is important that temperatures or not greatly higher than this or germination will be reduced. The roots are delicate and seedlings should be individually potted up as soon as possible since plants quickly become intolerant of root disturbance. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late summer if they have made sufficient growth, otherwise in late spring of the following year.

Additional information


1gr / 40+- seeds


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