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Bauhinia divaricata.jpg
Bauhinia divaricata flowers
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Cercidoideae
Genus: Bauhinia
Type species
Bauhinia divaricata

199–289; see text

  • Alvesia Welw.
  • Amaria S. Mutis ex Caldas
  • Ariaria Cuervo
  • Cansenia Raf.
  • Cardenasia Rusby
  • Caspareopsis Britton & Rose
  • Casparia Kunth
  • Mandarus Raf.
  • Monoteles Raf.
  • Pauletia Cav.
  • Perlebia Mart.
  • Telestria Raf.

Bauhinia (/bˈhɪniə/)[3] is a large genus of flowering plants in the subfamily Cercidoideae[4] and tribe Bauhinieae,[5] in the large flowering plant family Fabaceae, with a pantropical distribution. The genus was named after the Bauhin brothers Gaspard and Johann, Swiss-French botanists.

Many species are widely planted in the tropics as orchid trees, particularly in India, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Nepal and southeastern China. Other common names include mountain ebony and kachnar (India and Pakistan). Before the family was reorganised,[4] a number of genera including the lianas Lasiobema and Phanera were placed here (see related genera).

Depending on the species, Bauhinia are found planted around the world. In the United States, the trees grow in Hawaii, coastal California, Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, and Florida. There are native species, like Bauhinia lunarioides native to Texas and widely planted in the Southwest as a landscape plant. [6]

Bauhinia × blakeana is the floral emblem of Hong Kong—a stylized orchid tree flower appears on the flag of Hong Kong and Hong Kong Airlines uses 'Bauhinia' as its radio callsign in air traffic communication.


Bauhinia trees typically reach a height of 6–12 m and their branches spread 3–6 m outwards. The lobed leaves usually are 10–15 cm across.

The five-petaled flowers are 7.5–12.5 cm diameter, generally in shades of red, pink, purple, orange, or yellow, and are often fragrant. The tree begins flowering in late winter and often continues to flower into early summer. Depending on the species, Bauhinia flowers are usually in magenta, mauve, pink or white hues with crimson highlights.


Propagation of Bauhinia species is from seeds or cuttings. They thrive in alkaline soils and do not tolerate salty conditions. Full sun exposure is preferred but they can be grown under partial sun. Generous watering is needed during summer; moderate moisture required in winter.

Bauhinia thonningii in South Africa
Flower of Bauhinia x blakeana
Bauhinia variegata is almost leafless during flowering. Bauhinia purpurea and Bauhinia blakeana, which are often confused with B. variegata, are leafy during flowering.


Accepted species[edit]

Bauhinia includes at least the following species:[7][8][9]

Species names with uncertain taxonomic status[edit]

The status of the following species is unresolved:[9]

  • Bauhinia abyssinica A.Rich.
  • Bauhinia acuminata Bruce
  • Bauhinia aimouta Steud.
  • Bauhinia amatlana Wunderlin
  • Bauhinia andax DeWitt
  • Bauhinia angularis Harms ex Glaz.
  • Bauhinia angulata Vell.
  • Bauhinia articulata Oliv.
  • Bauhinia ayabacensis Wunderlin
  • Bauhinia bacuria Buch.-Ham. ex Wall.
  • Bauhinia baueriana Steud.
  • Bauhinia benzoin Kotschy ex Schweinf.
  • Bauhinia bequaerti De Wild.
  • Bauhinia bryoniflora Franch.
  • Bauhinia burkeana Benth. ex Harv. & Sond.
  • Bauhinia cancara Buch.-Ham. ex Steud.
  • Bauhinia candelabriformis R.S. Cowan
  • Bauhinia choriophylla Vogel
  • Bauhinia cissoides Welw. ex Oliv.
  • Bauhinia compacta Regel
  • Bauhinia congesta—Anacacho orchid tree[10]
  • Bauhinia cookii Rose
  • Bauhinia crocea Drake
  • Bauhinia cucullata Desv.
  • Bauhinia cumingiana (Benth.) Fern.-Vill.
  • Bauhinia depauperata Glaz.
  • Bauhinia dobbierum Rose
  • Bauhinia dubia G. Don
  • Bauhinia eriophora Ten.
  • Bauhinia esmeraldasensis Wunderlin
  • Bauhinia eximia Miq.
  • Bauhinia fabrilis (de Wit) K. Larsen & S.S. Larsen
  • Bauhinia farec Desv.
  • Bauhinia geniculata Wunderlin
  • Bauhinia grahami Steud.
  • Bauhinia grandifolia Steud.
  • Bauhinia herrerae (Britton & Rose) Standl. & Steyerm.
  • Bauhinia holzei F.Muell.
  • Bauhinia hostmanniana Miq.
  • Bauhinia hypochrysa T.C. Chen
  • Bauhinia hypoglauca Tang & F.T. Wang ex T.C. Chen
  • Bauhinia indica Ladd ex Loud
  • Bauhinia isopetala Griff.
  • Bauhinia jenningsii Paul G. Wilson
  • Bauhinia leichhardtii F.Muell.
  • Bauhinia lingyuenensis T.C. Chen
  • Bauhinia longiracemosa Hayata
  • Bauhinia longiseta Fróes
  • Bauhinia longistipes T.C. Chen
  • Bauhinia longistyla Benth.
  • Bauhinia maculata Ten.
  • Bauhinia maglesia Lindl.
  • Bauhinia malacotrichoides R.S. Cowan
  • Bauhinia marlothii Engl.
  • Bauhinia marowijnensis Kleinh.
  • Bauhinia montana Lanza
  • Bauhinia mucora Bolle
  • Bauhinia ovatifolia T.C. Chen
  • Bauhinia parkinsonii C.E.C.Fisch.
  • Bauhinia paucinervata T.C. Chen
  • Bauhinia persichii F.Muell.
  • Bauhinia pinnata Blanco
  • Bauhinia platisiliqua Steud.
  • Bauhinia platysiliqua Perr. ex DC.
  • Bauhinia polyacantha Steud.
  • Bauhinia polyantha Vogel
  • Bauhinia purpurea Wall.
  • Bauhinia pyrrhocarpa Hochst.
  • Bauhinia reniformis Royle ex Baker
  • Bauhinia rubescens Pers.
  • Bauhinia ruficarpa Desv.
  • Bauhinia scortechinii Prain ex King
  • Bauhinia sellowiana Vogel
  • Bauhinia stenoscypha Baker
  • Bauhinia strychnoidea Prain ex King
  • Bauhinia subclavala Benth.
  • Bauhinia superba Steud.
  • Bauhinia tamarindacea Delile
  • Bauhinia tenuis Span.
  • Bauhinia teysmanniana Scheff.
  • Bauhinia timorensis Decne.
  • Bauhinia timoriana Steud.
  • Bauhinia timoriensis Baker
  • Bauhinia trichosepala (L.P.Queiroz) Wunderlin & Eilers
  • Bauhinia tuichiensis Cayola & A. Fuentes
  • Bauhinia umbriana Britton & Killip
  • Bauhinia vahlii Villar
  • Bauhinia venustula T.C. Chen
  • Bauhinia welwischii Oliv.


One hybrid is known:[8]


Several fossils of Bauhinia species have been discovered:

  • Bauhinia cheniae Qi Wang, Z. Q. Song, Y. F. Chen, S. Shen & Z. Y. Li[11]
  • Bauhinia cretacea Newberry[12]
  • Bauhinia fotana F.M.B. Jacques et al.[13]
  • Bauhinia gigantea Newberry[14]
  • Bauhinia gracilis J.R. Tao[15]
  • Bauhinia larsenii D.X. Zhang & Y. F. Chen[16]
  • Bauhinia ningmingensis Qi Wang, Z. Q. Song, Y. F. Chen, S. Shen & Z. Y. Li[11]
  • Bauhinia potosiana Berry[17]
  • Bauhinia thonningii Schum.[18]
  • Bauhinia ungulatoides Y.X.Lin, W.O.Wong, G.L.Shi, S.Shen & Z.Y.Li[19]
  • Bauhinia wenshanensis H.H. Meng & Z.K. Zhou[20]
  • Bauhinia wyomingiana Brown[21][22]

Segregated genera[edit]

Species in the genera Barklya, Gigasiphon, Lasiobema, Lysiphyllum, Phanera, Piliostigma, Schnella, and Tylosema are sometimes included in Bauhinia (sensu lato).



  1. ^ a b "Genus: Bauhinia L." Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 2007-03-29. Archived from the original on 2012-05-03. Retrieved 2010-12-06.
  2. ^ Wunderlin RP. (2010). "Reorganization of the Cercideae (Fabaceae: Caesalpinioideae)" (PDF). Phytoneuron. 48: 1–5.
  3. ^ Sunset Western Garden Book, 1995:606–607; OED: "Bauhinia"
  4. ^ a b The Legume Phylogeny Working Group (LPWG). (2017). "A new subfamily classification of the Leguminosae based on a taxonomically comprehensive phylogeny". Taxon. 66 (1): 44–77. doi:10.12705/661.3.
  5. ^ Sinou C, Forest F, Lewis GP, Bruneau A (2009). "The genus Bauhinia s.l. (Leguminosae): a phylogeny based on the plastid trnLtrnF region". Botany. 87 (10): 947–960. doi:10.1139/B09-065.
  6. ^ "SEINet Portal Network - Bauhinia lunarioides".
  7. ^ "ILDIS LegumeWeb entry for Bauhinia". International Legume Database & Information Service. Cardiff School of Computer Science & Informatics. Archived from the original on 17 May 2014. Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  8. ^ a b USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. "GRIN species records of Bauhinia". Germplasm Resources Information Network—(GRIN) [Online Database]. National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland. Archived from the original on 2015-09-24. Retrieved 5 May 2014.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  9. ^ a b "The Plant List entry for Bauhinia". The Plant List. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and the Missouri Botanical Garden. 2013. Retrieved 5 May 2014.
  10. ^ "Anacacho Orchid Tree—Bauhinia congesta". Archived from the original on 8 January 2015. Retrieved 8 January 2015.
  11. ^ a b Wang Q, Song Z, Chen Y, Shen S, Li Z (2014). "Leaves and fruits of Bauhinia (Leguminosae, Caesalpinioideae, Cercideae) from the Oligocene Ningming Formation of Guangxi, South China and their biogeographic implications". BMC Evolutionary Biology. 14: 88. doi:10.1186/1471-2148-14-88. PMC 4101841. PMID 24758153.
  12. ^ Bell W-A. (1963). Upper Cretaceous Floras of the Dunvegan, Bad Heart, and Milk River Formations of Western Canada (94th ed.). Canada: Dept. of Mines and Technical Surveys.
  13. ^ Jacques FM, Shi GL, Su T, Zhou ZK (2015). "A tropical forest of the middle Miocene of Fujian (SE China) reveals Sino-Indian biogeographic affinities". Rev Palaeobot Palynol. 216: 76–91. doi:10.1016/j.revpalbo.2015.02.001.
  14. ^ Bell W-A. (1957). Flora of the Upper Cretaceous Nanaimo Group of Vancouver Island. British Columbia: E. Cloutier. pp. 1–84. doi:10.4095/101457.
  15. ^ Tao JR, Zhou ZK, Liu YS (2000). The Evolution of the Late Cretaceous–Cenozoic floras in China. Beijing: Science Press.
  16. ^ Chen YF, Zhang DX (2005). "Bauhinia larsenii, a fossil legume from Guangxi, China". Bot J Linn Soc. 147 (4): 437–440. doi:10.1111/j.1095-8339.2005.00373.x.
  17. ^ Berry E-W. (1917). "Fossil plants from Bolivia and their bearing upon the age of uplift of the eastern Andes" (PDF). Proc US Natl Mus. 54 (2229): 103–164. doi:10.5479/si.00963801.54-2229.103. hdl:10088/15029.
  18. ^ Eisenmann V. (1994). "Equidae of the Albertine rift valley, Uganda". Geol Paleobiol Albertine Rift Valley, Uganda-Zaire. 2: 289–307.
  19. ^ Lin YX, Wong WO, Shi GL, Shen S, Li ZY (2015). "Bilobate leaves of Bauhinia (Leguminosae, Caesalpinioideae, Cercideae) from the middle Miocene of Fujian Province, southeastern China and their biogeographic implications". BMC Evolutionary Biology. 15: 252. doi:10.1186/s12862-015-0540-9. PMC 4647482. PMID 26572133.
  20. ^ Meng HH, Jacques FM, Su T, Huang YJ, Zhang ST, Ma HJ, Zhou ZK (2014). "New biogeographic insight into Bauhinia s.l. (Leguminosae): Integration from fossil records and molecular analyses". BMC Evolutionary Biology. 14: 181. doi:10.1186/s12862-014-0181-4. PMC 4360257. PMID 25288346.
  21. ^ Knowlton F-H. (1899). "Fossil flora of the Yellowstone National Park". US Geol Surv Mon. 32: 651–791.
  22. ^ Wilf P. (2000). "Late Paleocene–early Eocene climate changes in southwestern Wyoming: Paleobotanical analysis". Geol Soc Am Bull. 112 (2): 292–307. Bibcode:2000GSAB..112..292W. doi:10.1130/0016-7606(2000)112<292:LPECCI>2.0.CO;2.

External links[edit]

  • Media related to Bauhinia at Wikimedia Commons
  • Data related to Bauhinia at Wikispecies