Judas

There are a number of examples of trees on which Judas was said to have hanged himself, beliefs usually connected with some characteristic of the tree itself. ASPEN is one example; Russian folklore explained the constant trembling of the leaves by taking it to be the tree of Judas. The JUDAS TREE (see below) got its purple-rose flowers, when it burned with shame when Judas hanged himself on it. FIG TREES are viewed with mistrust in the Mediterranean area; in Sicily it was because, so it was said, Judas hanged himself on one. Crowning someone with ELDER was reckoned in Yorkshire to be about the most insulting thing that could be done (Gutch), for Judas hanged himself on an elder tree, a belief that Ben Jonson picked up in Every man out of his humour: "He shall be your Judas, and you shall be his elder-tree to hang on". A fungus that grows on elder is known as Jew's Ear, that is Judas's Ear (it was looked on as a great medicine for quinsy, sore throat and the like (Leask) ). TAMARISK "was of old counted infelix, and under malediction, and therefore used to wreath, and be out on the heads of malefactors" (Evelyn. 1678), for this is one of the trees said to be the one on which Judas hanged himself. Once a tall and beautiful tree, it is now reduced to a shrub by divine malediction (A Porteous). They say that the ghost of Judas contiually flits around the tamarisk.

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