Friday, March 4, 2011

Cercis Siliquastrum aka Erguvan, or in other words...Redbud Tree

via sinanbaslas.com
The other day, Anonymous stopped by and left a comment on my post about Boğaziçi University. (For newcomers, BU is the setting for my novel.) Anonymous pined for the lovely campus of his/her alma mater and reminded me of how beautiful the erguvan trees are in the spring. Of course, I'm a sucker for flowering anything, and Istanbul in bloom is just breathtaking. How could I not mention it in my writing someplace? (It's in chapter two of Burnt Amber, btw.)

So what is an erguvan tree? Cercis siliquastrum, aka the redbud tree. The Bosphorus strait is dotted with redbuds for a few weeks in late April/early May. Some areas, Bebek included, have pockets of the trees like the one in the picture. It's no wonder that Roxelana's favorite color was erguvan mauve. There was nothing the Ottomans didn't have in that color.

Here in the Carolinas, we have its cousin, native cercis canadensis, blanketing our hillsides. Dainty blooms, ornamental seed pods and pretty heart shaped leaves make an attractive tree, so redbuds are popular in gardens of the southeast and all the way up into southern New England. When my grandmother passed away I planted a dwarf weeping variety called "Covey" at my old house in New Haven. I also have several of the burgundy leaved "Forest Pansy" variety in my new backyard. Currently, I'm coveting a new variety borne of "Forest Pansy" and "Covey", "Ruby Falls", which both weeps AND has beautiful burgundy foliage. I just need to find that sweet spot for it.

Fun note:

Green twigs have been used in southern Appalachia to season venison for years, so the tree is also known as spicewood up in the mountains. Native Americans ate the buds raw or boiled and roasted the seeds. I haven't tried any of these recipes, but some buds might look pretty on top of a salad...
Enhanced by Zemanta

18 comments:

Matthew Rush said...

I love researching plants! In fact I've done a lot of it for my novel. I have a special website I go to that has many details about the plants that are native to the area that is my setting.

Great post, thanks Carolyn!

Katie Mills said...

that was the one thing that still stands out in my memories of Bodrum- the whitewashed houses and the contrast agains the purple flowering trees and blue water. Just beautiful!

Old Kitty said...

Oooh I'd say they're pinkbuds!!! And very pretty they are too!! And yes, they do look very tasty!! Lovely to see them garlanding the scenery! Bet they have a really heady fragrance!! Wow!!!

Take care
x

Misha said...

Must look stunning.

:-)

Christopher said...

Reminds me a bit of lilacs. I've always liked those. Remind me of Grandma.

Jules said...

Oh, I have one too but don't ask me the scientific name or variety, just redbud to me. Did not know it was editable? Ever feel like Ewell Gibbons? Remember him, "Many parts of a pine cone are editable?" :)

Have a great weekend!
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

~Nicole Ducleroir~ said...

Beautiful photo. I love all the fragrant flowering trees in bloom at this time of year. They're just starting to burst with color down here in GA.

Happy weekend!

Deniz Bevan said...

Are you sure that anonymous poster wasn't my mother? [g] Thanks for doing these posts about plants and flowers - I know so little, and yet my characters would certainly be familiar with these. I need to learn what they already know!

The Golden Eagle said...

That's a beautiful picture!

Margo Berendsen said...

New follower slowly getting around to visiting all the Crusaders - must say I find this post intriguing! - a setting at a university in/near Istanbul - and I have a sudden new appreciation for my middle eastern geography to know that this beautiful tree blooms all over there. Used to live in N.C. myself and I really miss it this time of year (but not during summer)

KO: The Insect Collector said...

I needed a dose of spring today-- thanks for sharing.

amesababble said...

I know it as the Judas tree. Judas was supposed to have hung himself on one after he betrayed Christ. They are beautiful....but I think of Judas when I see one!

Carolyn Abiad said...

FYI, via wikipedia : There is a longstanding myth that Judas Iscariot hanged himself from a tree of this species. This belief is related to the common name "Judas Tree" which is possibly a corrupted derivation from the French common name, Arbre de Judée meaning tree of Judea, referring to a region where the tree occurs.
And my note - I wouldn't think a redbud was strong enough to hang a man. It's fairly delicate and would probably break under the weight. However, I can see a tale emerging from the bloodlike redbuds weeping through the bark. I suppose it doesn't hurt to be reminded of temptation's price once in a while, either.

Anushka Sharma said...

Very intersting post…. I enjoyed reading your informative article and considering the points. redbus coupon

Viswanadhan R said...

Duplicity is a nice movie,i like the story and also the actors., her response

Shaik Muskan said...

I am really enjoying this appearance/design of your site ????? ???????: ?????? ??? ????? ?????? ????????! | ????? ?? . Would you at any time encounter any internet browser interface problems? A number of our own readers sometimes complained about my website not operating appropriately within Internet Explorer but looks good inside Opera. Are there any kind of ideas to assist solve the issue? Plus my thoughts go out to those in tsunami we hope you are ok and safer !!! visit the site

sutram naresh1986 said...

I just added this webpage to my rss reader, great stuff. Can�t get enough! my link

Unknown said...

My friend first found your blog on Google and she referred your blog to me.`�;\'; Find Out More

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails