The other day we looked again at this tree to find that it was in flower but the flowers were quite unlike those of a Judas Tree - they are pea-like flowers. In fact, they looked very similar to Hamamelis or Witch-hazel flowers, some of which are in flower now.
So a conundrum. Trawling the web I by chance came upon the answer; it is Disanthus cercidifolius or Redbud Hazel or Japanese Red Witch-hazel. It is a plant from Japan and is in the Hamamelidaceae or Witch-hazel family - hence our original observations. It can grow to about 15ft tall but remains as a shrub for a long time. In its native habitat it provides superb colour as an under shrub in the autumn. In Japan it is called Benimansaku which means "Red First-Flower." The flower looks like a spidery starfish rather than having the strap-like petals of the Witch-hazel. The flowers are supposed to have a faint aroma though I couldn't detect that. So, after all these years, there are still trees to discover!
|Redbud Hazel flower; Barnes Dell; November|