Dominating the Gilbert Carter Memorial Area at this time of year is the Judas Tree (Cercis siliquastrum). The crowds of pink-mauve flowers arise all along the bare branches, or even from the trunk of the tree, before the tree has even leafed up. The common name alludes to the story that Judas Iscariot hanged himself from a tree of this species, but it is likely that this is a corruption of the French common name, Arbre de Judée, meaning ‘tree of Judea’ and referring to the region where the tree naturally grows.
Another Pea family member, the long, arching tails of flowers on the nearby grouping of free-standing Wisteria sinensis are eye-catching in spring. Each flower in the raceme is zygomorphic, meaning they are symmetrical along the vertical axis and reflect a typical pea-family shape of a large upper banner, two wings, and then two lower petals fused at the tip and referred to together as the keel.