Cercis (purple): photo and description of a shrub, varieties, how it blooms, reproduction


The photo and description of the cercis tree deserve careful consideration. The culture does not impose strict requirements for care, but needs care from the gardener.

Description of the plant cercis with a photo

Cercis, Judas tree or crimson (Cercis) is a plant of the legume family. Young branches are smooth, pale red or brownish-olive, in old shoots the bark is blackish, covered with small cracks. The height of the cercis tree is on average 10-18 m. The leaves are ovoid, with relief veins, of a dark green hue. They have a smooth edge, on the branches they are located on the petioles in the next order.

Cercis (purple): photo and description of a shrub, varieties, how it blooms, reproduction

The life expectancy of cercis is 50-70 years

The culture is drought-resistant, loves sunlight. The growth rate of cercis is very small – at the age of 4-5 years, the tree rises only up to 1,5 m above the ground. Flowering culture first occurs in the fifth year of life. In nature, the tree usually settles on stony calcareous soils.

Where does cercis grow

In its natural form, the purple rose is distributed almost all over the world. Some varieties of culture grow in North America and Mexico, others are found in Central and Southeast Asia. You can see the tree in Turkmenistan and China, as well as in the Caucasus.

Cercis flowering period

The tree blooms in spring, the buds on its shoots appear even before the leaves bloom. The plant produces purple or pink five-petalled bells, collected in small bunches or brushes. The period of decorativeness lasts about a month and ends at about the moment when the leaves of the tree fully open.

Are cercis fruits edible?

At the end of the decorative period, the purple tree bears fruit – large pods up to 10 cm long. Each of them contains oval shiny beans of a flattened shape in the amount of 4-7 pieces.

The fruits have no nutritional value. Culture is valued mainly for its decorative properties, as well as for strong, beautiful wood.

Winter hardiness of cercis

Indicators of frost resistance of cercis depend on the variety. Some plants are able to withstand temperatures as low as -30°C with minimal shelter. Others suffer greatly from frost and are intended for growing in warm areas where winter temperatures do not drop below -15 °C.

Medicinal properties and use of cercis

Interesting facts about cercis mention the numerous beneficial properties of the plant. Raw materials are used in folk medicine, with proper use of purple:

  • promotes rapid healing of wounds;
  • improves the condition of tuberculosis;
  • removes sputum from the respiratory tract with bronchitis and colds;
  • has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects;
  • comprehensively strengthens the immune system;
  • improves digestion and stimulates metabolic processes;
  • increases vigor and restores energy reserves.

The leaves, bark and flowers of the lilac cercis tree are used to prepare water decoctions, infusions and alcoholic tinctures. With moderate use, such funds bring great benefits to the body and improve health.

Attention! Crimson is a valuable honey plant. Nectar obtained from the plant has a specific pleasant taste and numerous medicinal properties.

The difference between cercis and sakura

Cercis and sakura are very similar in appearance during the flowering period. However, the trees belong to different families. If the crimson belongs to legumes, then under the name of sakura they combine plum crops and finely serrated cherries.

Both plants bloom profusely even before the leaves bloom in early spring. At the same time, you can distinguish them from each other by the fruits. Unlike cercis, sakura does not form pods, but small berries with a large bone in the middle and sour, tart pulp.

Types and varieties of cercis

Photos of flowering cercis show that the tree is found in many varieties. You can list some of the most popular plants among gardeners.

European (Cercis siliquatsrum)

Decorative crimson is characterized by thermophilicity, suitable for the southern regions. Brings rich pink flowers in early spring, has a spreading crown.

Cercis (purple): photo and description of a shrub, varieties, how it blooms, reproduction

The height of the European cercis usually does not exceed 10 m

Canadian (Cercis canadensis)

A popular frost-resistant variety of crimson grows up to 12 m. Green leaves turn bright yellow in autumn. The flowers are small, pale pink.

Cercis (purple): photo and description of a shrub, varieties, how it blooms, reproduction

Canadian scarlet blooms later than other species and completes flowering only in early summer

Chinese (Cercis chinensis)

Tall crimson reaches 15 m above the ground. It has large heart-shaped leaves, blooms in May. The pink-purple buds of the tree form large lush bunches on the branches.

Cercis (purple): photo and description of a shrub, varieties, how it blooms, reproduction

The Chinese crimson tree does not tolerate cold well and does not take root in Siberia and the Urals.

Western (Cercis occidentalis)

Frost-resistant species has a spreading highly branched crown. It grows on average up to 12 m, blooms in late spring. The buds of the tree are reddish-pink, collected in thick brushes, the leaves are rich green.

Cercis (purple): photo and description of a shrub, varieties, how it blooms, reproduction

Western scarlet is suitable for planting in the middle lane

Griffithia (Cercis griffithii)

Cercis of this species is a medium-sized shrub up to 4 m above the ground. It has leathery dark green leaves and woody stems. It blooms with purple-pink buds, united in inflorescences of 5-7 pieces.

Cercis (purple): photo and description of a shrub, varieties, how it blooms, reproduction

You can grow Griffith’s cercis only in the southern regions.

Кистистый (Cercis racemosa)

Cercis prefers to grow in sunny and warm areas. The leaves of the tree are dark green in summer and turn deep yellow in autumn. Racemose inflorescences appear in mid-spring, consist of numerous purple buds.

Cercis (purple): photo and description of a shrub, varieties, how it blooms, reproduction

The racemosus crimson is found naturally only in Central China.

Почковидный (Cercis reniformis)

The heat-loving crimson reaches 10 m above the ground, it can be either a compact tree or a large shrub. The green leaves of the plant are oval, the buds are deep pink, held on shortened pedicels. The flowers are collected in drooping small brushes.

Cercis (purple): photo and description of a shrub, varieties, how it blooms, reproduction

The length of the inflorescences in the kidney-shaped cercis can be 10 cm

Planting and caring for cercis in the open field

Planting cercis on the site is very simple. For the plant, you need to choose a sunny or slightly shaded place with well-drained soil. The soil must be alkaline in composition, it must first be properly limed.

The tree planting scheme is as follows:

  1. At the chosen place, they dig a hole twice the size of the roots.
  2. Drainage is poured into the bottom of the recess, and fertile soil is laid on top of it with the addition of sand and humus.
  3. Set the seedling in the center of the pit and straighten the roots to the sides.
  4. Cover the plant with earth and water it abundantly with tepid water.

For planting, it is recommended to choose cercis no older than one year. Although the tree grows quite slowly, its roots develop very quickly. When transplanting an adult seedling, the risk of damaging the feeding system increases.

Caring for cercis in the garden is easy, you need to pay attention to the main agrotechnical measures:

  1. Watering. The tree requires abundant moisture only in the first 2-3 years after planting at the stage of active growth. An adult plant is watered only during a prolonged drought.
  2. Top dressing. In early spring, organic fertilizers are applied to the soil – an infusion of mullein or bird droppings. In mid-June, cercis is fed with minerals with a high nitrogen content, and in August – with potassium and phosphorus preparations.
  3. Pruning. For crimson, a sanitary haircut is carried out annually. In the process, all diseased and broken, as well as twisted branches are removed. In the spring, you can prune again to remove shoots affected by snow and frost. A decorative haircut is carried out every 2-3 years to give the crown the desired shape.

Cercis in the Moscow region with the onset of autumn should be covered with organic material or dry foliage in the near-stem circle, and after the arrival of cold weather, cover the tree with spruce branches. In the southern regions, it is usually not necessary to insulate the trunk, it is enough to mulch the soil.

Attention! When growing crimson on the site, it is required from time to time to remove the root growth of the tree.

How to propagate cercis

There are several ways to propagate cercis in the garden. Most often, the tree is bred vegetatively by cuttings or root sections, but it is also allowed to use the seed method.

Growing cercis from seeds

To grow cercis from seeds, you must first prepare the beans for planting. Their skin is very dense, so you need to pour boiling water over the material and soak it in warm water for several hours.

It is recommended to sow beans immediately in open ground in late autumn. It is not necessary to pre-moisten the soil, otherwise the crimson may germinate ahead of time. After planting the beans, the bed is mulched with a dense layer of peat or dry leaves, and covered with spruce branches on top.

Cercis (purple): photo and description of a shrub, varieties, how it blooms, reproduction

Heat-loving varieties of cercis do not germinate at temperatures below -5 ° C, therefore they are usually not sown in the ground

Propagation of cercis by cuttings

It is necessary to cut cercis in the middle of autumn. A strong shoot aged 2-3 years is cut from an adult plant, at least two buds must be present on the branch. The stalk is treated with a growth stimulator and immediately added dropwise in open ground at an angle. You need to deepen the escape by 10-15 cm.

With timely cuttings, the cercis has time to take root before the onset of frost. For the winter, it needs to be insulated according to the standard scheme – to throw dry leaves and spruce branches on top.


You can plant cercis near the house with the help of root shoots. It is necessary to separate a healthy and strong, but flexible lower layer from an adult tree, and then immediately transfer it to a new place.

The procedure is usually performed in early spring before active vegetation. Layers take root quite quickly and by the middle of summer they are well rooted in the ground.

Diseases and pests

Crimson, when properly grown, rarely suffers from fungi and parasites. But a certain danger for him is:

  • aphids – small insects feed on the juice of the leaves of the tree and leave a sticky coating on the plates;
    Cercis (purple): photo and description of a shrub, varieties, how it blooms, reproduction

    Aphids cause yellowing of purple leaves and weaken the plant

  • root rot – with chronic waterlogging, the crimson stops growing, begins to drop the plates, and then dies.
    Cercis (purple): photo and description of a shrub, varieties, how it blooms, reproduction

    Root rot is provoked by heavy rains and excessive watering.

When aphids appear on the leaves of the plant, it is necessary to spray with insecticides or ordinary soapy water. From fungi, Bordeaux liquid and copper sulfate are used, all affected parts of the tree are cut off.

Why cercis does not bloom

The crimson tree is popular due to its decorative effect. But sometimes the cercis blooms reluctantly after planting or refuses to tie buds at all.

If the scarlet does not bloom, this is usually due to several reasons:

  • root rot;
  • too poor soil;
  • poor lighting;
  • inadequate hydration.

In most cases, with an unsuccessful planting, the crimson not only does not tie buds, but generally does not grow well. To correct the situation, it is necessary to adjust the intensity of irrigation, introduce complex top dressing and perform treatment against fungal diseases.

If flowering does not occur due to lack of light, it is quite difficult to deal with the problem. But it is possible to carry out sanitary pruning for the purple and how to thin out its crown.

Photo of cercis in landscape design

In the summer cottage, the purple is planted most often as a tapeworm, so that the flowering tree attracts maximum attention. It must be borne in mind that an adult cercis needs a lot of free space. A tree cannot be planted close to a house or a fence; it will not be able to develop freely.

Cercis (purple): photo and description of a shrub, varieties, how it blooms, reproduction

Shrub varieties of cercis are used to create hedges

It is possible to arrange the scarlet at some distance from the conifers. Bright greenery will emphasize the beauty of a flowering tree, while the plants will not interfere with each other with minimal space. It is allowed to sow ornamental annuals and perennials in the near-trunk circle of the purple tree.


The photo and description of the cercis tree represent a very beautiful plant with early spring flowering. Culture care is quite simple, but special attention must be paid to preparing for winter.

Cercis Tree Reviews

Kuraeva Anna Sergeevna, 36 years old, Voronezh
I’ve been growing purple on the site for six years. The tree develops very slowly until it reaches only 2 m above the ground. But the flowering is very beautiful now, in the spring the plant is simply transformed. Pink buds appear even before the greenery blooms, the garden immediately acquires a very romantic atmosphere.
Myakinina Tatyana Igorevna, 43 years old, Rostov-on-Don
I planted cercis on the site three years ago, I have not seen flowering yet. But the impressions of the tree are very good, it is generally easy to care for it. It does not require constant watering, moderate feeding is needed. For the winter, I properly cover the scarlet with spruce branches, so far there have been no problems.
decorative trees. Canadian cercis – Crimson

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