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Bauhinia divaricata flowers
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Cercidoideae
Tribe: Bauhinieae
Genus: Bauhinia
L. (1753)[1]
Type species
Bauhinia divaricata
Plum. ex L. (1753)

192 (in 2023); see text[2]

  • Alvesia Welw. (1859)
  • Amaria Mutis ex Caldas< (1810)
  • Ariaria Cuervo (1893)
  • Bracteolanthus de Wit (1956)
  • Cansenia Raf. (1838)
  • Caspareopsis Britton & Rose (1930)
  • Casparia Kunth (1824)
  • Mandarus Raf. (1838)
  • Monoteles Raf. (1838)
  • Pauletia Cav. (1799)
  • Perlebia Mart. (1828)

Bauhinia (/bˈhɪniə/)[4] is a large genus of flowering plants in the subfamily Cercidoideae[5] and tribe Bauhinieae,[6] 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. Before the family was reorganised,[5] a number of genera including the lianas of genus Phanera were placed here (see related genera). 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.[7]

Parts of some species of bauhinia like B. purpurea and B. malabarica are used in Filipino cuisine (known collectively as alinbánban or alinbángbang,[8] "butterfly").[9]

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 acuminata
Bauhinia corifolia fruit
Bauhinia monandra
Bauhinia natalensis
Bauhinia phoenicea
Bauhinia purpurea
Bauhinia racemosa
Bauhinia tomentosa
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]

Plants of the World Online currently (March 2023) includes the following species:[2][10][11]

  1. Bauhinia acreana Harms
  2. Bauhinia aculeata L.
  3. Bauhinia acuminata L.
  4. Bauhinia acuruana Moric.
  5. Bauhinia affinis Vogel
  6. Bauhinia albicans Vogel
  7. Bauhinia amambayensis Fortunato
  8. Bauhinia amatlana Wunderlin
  9. Bauhinia andrade-limae A.C.B.Santos & Vaz
  10. Bauhinia andrieuxii Hemsl.
  11. Bauhinia ankarafantsikae Du Puy & R.Rabev.
  12. Bauhinia anomala Hassl.
  13. Bauhinia arborea Wunderlin
  14. Bauhinia argentinensis Burkart
  15. Bauhinia arleneae A.C.B.Santos & L.P.Queiroz
  16. Bauhinia augusti Harms
  17. Bauhinia aurantiaca Bojer
  18. Bauhinia aureopunctata Ducke
  19. Bauhinia ayabacensis Wunderlin
  20. Bauhinia bartlettii B.L.Turner
  21. Bauhinia bauhinioides (Mart.) J.F.Macbr.
  22. Bauhinia beguinotii Cufod.
  23. Bauhinia bicolor (Bong.) D.Dietr.
  24. Bauhinia bohniana H.Y.Chen
  25. Bauhinia bombaciflora Ducke
  26. Bauhinia bowkeri Harv.
  27. Bauhinia brachycalyx Ducke
  28. Bauhinia brachycarpa Wall. ex Benth.
  29. Bauhinia brevicalyx Du Puy & R.Rabev.
  30. Bauhinia brevipes Vogel
  31. Bauhinia bryoniflora Franch.
  32. Bauhinia burchellii Benth.
  33. Bauhinia burrowsii E.J.D.Schmidt
  34. Bauhinia buscalionii Mattei
  35. Bauhinia calliandroides Rusby
  36. Bauhinia caloneura Malme
  37. Bauhinia calycina Pierre ex Gagnep.
  38. Bauhinia campestris Malme
  39. Bauhinia candelabriformis R.S.Cowan
  40. Bauhinia capuronii Du Puy & R.Rabev.
  41. Bauhinia catingae Harms
  42. Bauhinia chapulhuacania Wunderlin
  43. Bauhinia cheilantha (Bong.) Steud.
  44. Bauhinia cinnamomea DC.
  45. Bauhinia coclensis R.Torres
  46. Bauhinia conceptionis Britton & Killip
  47. Bauhinia concinna Drake
  48. Bauhinia conwayi Rusby
  49. Bauhinia cookii Rose
  50. Bauhinia corifolia L.P.Queiroz
  51. Bauhinia corniculata Benth.
  52. Bauhinia coulteri J.F.Macbr.
  53. Bauhinia crocea Drake
  54. Bauhinia cupulata Benth.
  55. Bauhinia curvula Benth.
  56. Bauhinia darainensis Thulin & Nusb.
  57. Bauhinia decandra Du Puy & R.Rabev.
  58. Bauhinia decora L.Uribe
  59. Bauhinia deserti (Britton & Rose) Lundell
  60. Bauhinia dimorphophylla Hoehne
  61. Bauhinia dipetala Hemsl.
  62. Bauhinia diptera Blume ex Miq.
  63. Bauhinia divaricata L.
  64. Bauhinia dubia G.Don
  65. Bauhinia dumosa Benth.
  66. Bauhinia eilertsii Pulle
  67. Bauhinia ellenbeckii Harms
  68. Bauhinia erythrocalyx Wunderlin
  69. Bauhinia esmeraldasensis Wunderlin
  70. Bauhinia estrellensis Hassl.
  71. Bauhinia eucosma S.F.Blake
  72. Bauhinia euryantha H.Y.Chen
  73. Bauhinia exellii Torre & Hillc.
  74. Bauhinia eximia Miq.
  75. Bauhinia farec Desv.
  76. Bauhinia flagelliflora Wunderlin
  77. Bauhinia floribunda Desv.
  78. Bauhinia forficata Link
  79. Bauhinia fryxellii Wunderlin
  80. Bauhinia funchiana Vaz & G.P.Lewis
  81. Bauhinia fusconervis (Bong.) Steud.
  82. Bauhinia galpinii N.E.Br.
  83. Bauhinia gardneri Benth.
  84. Bauhinia geniculata Wunderlin
  85. Bauhinia gilesii F.Muell. & F.M.Bailey
  86. Bauhinia glaziovii Taub.
  87. Bauhinia godefroyi Gagnep.
  88. Bauhinia goyazensis Harms
  89. Bauhinia grandidieri Baill.
  90. Bauhinia grandifolia (Bong.) D.Dietr.
  91. Bauhinia grevei Drake
  92. Bauhinia gypsicola McVaugh
  93. Bauhinia hagenbeckii Harms
  94. Bauhinia hainanensis Merr. & Chun ex H.Y.Chen
  95. Bauhinia haughtii Wunderlin
  96. Bauhinia hildebrandtii Vatke
  97. Bauhinia hirsuta Weinm.
  98. Bauhinia holophylla (Bong.) Steud.
  99. Bauhinia hostmanniana Miq.
  100. Bauhinia humilis Rusby
  101. Bauhinia integerrima Mart. ex Benth.
  102. Bauhinia involucrans Gagnep.
  103. Bauhinia isopetala Griff.
  104. Bauhinia jenningsii P.Wilson
  105. Bauhinia jucunda Brandegee
  106. Bauhinia kalantha Harms
  107. Bauhinia kleiniana Burkart
  108. Bauhinia leptantha Malme
  109. Bauhinia leucantha Thulin
  110. Bauhinia longicuspis Spruce ex Benth.
  111. Bauhinia longifolia (Bong.) Steud.
  112. Bauhinia longipedicellata Ducke
  113. Bauhinia longiracemosa Hayata
  114. Bauhinia lorantha Pierre ex Gagnep.
  115. Bauhinia lunarioides A.Gray ex S.Watson
  116. Bauhinia macrantha Oliv.
  117. Bauhinia macranthera Benth. ex Hemsl.
  118. Bauhinia madagascariensis Desv.
  119. Bauhinia malacotricha Harms
  120. Bauhinia malacotrichoides R.S.Cowan
  121. Bauhinia malmeana Vaz & G.P.Lewis
  122. Bauhinia marginata (Bong.) Steud.
  123. Bauhinia melastomatoidea R.Torres
  124. Bauhinia membranacea Benth.
  125. Bauhinia mendoncae Torre & Hillc.
  126. Bauhinia miriamae R.Torres
  127. Bauhinia mollis (Bong.) D.Dietr.
  128. Bauhinia mombassae Vatke
  129. Bauhinia monandra Kurz
  130. Bauhinia moningerae Merr.
  131. Bauhinia morondavensis Du Puy & R.Rabev.
  132. Bauhinia multinervia (Kunth) DC.
  133. Bauhinia natalensis Oliv.
  134. Bauhinia ombrophila Du Puy & R.Rabev.
  135. Bauhinia ovata (Bong.) Vogel
  136. Bauhinia oxysepala Gagnep.
  137. Bauhinia pansamalana Donn.Sm.
  138. Bauhinia parkinsonii C.E.C.Fisch.
  139. Bauhinia parviloba Ducke
  140. Bauhinia pauletia Pers.
  141. Bauhinia pentandra (Bong.) Vogel ex D.Dietr.
  142. Bauhinia pervilleana Baill.
  143. Bauhinia pes-caprae Cav.
  144. Bauhinia petersiana Bolle
  145. Bauhinia petiolata (Mutis ex DC.) Triana ex Hook.
  146. Bauhinia phoenicea B.Heyne ex Wight & Arn.
  147. Bauhinia pichinchensis Wunderlin
  148. Bauhinia picta (Kunth) DC.
  149. Bauhinia pinheiroi Wunderlin
  150. Bauhinia pinnata Blanco
  151. Bauhinia piresii Vaz & G.P.Lewis
  152. Bauhinia platypetala Burch. ex Benth.
  153. Bauhinia platyphylla Benth.
  154. Bauhinia podopetala Baker
  155. Bauhinia pottsii G.Don
  156. Bauhinia prainiana Craib
  157. Bauhinia pringlei S.Watson
  158. Bauhinia proboscidea P.Juárez, Rod.Flores & M.A.Blanco
  159. Bauhinia pulchella Benth.
  160. Bauhinia purpurea L.
  161. Bauhinia racemosa Lam.
  162. Bauhinia ramirezii Reynoso
  163. Bauhinia ramosissima Benth. ex Hemsl.
  164. Bauhinia retifolia Standl.
  165. Bauhinia richardiana DC.
  166. Bauhinia rubeleruziana Donn.Sm.
  167. Bauhinia rufa (Bong.) Steud.
  168. Bauhinia rufescens Lam.
  169. Bauhinia saccocalyx Pierre
  170. Bauhinia saksuwaniae Mattapha, Chantar. & Suddee
  171. Bauhinia seleriana Harms
  172. Bauhinia seminarioi Harms ex Eggers
  173. Bauhinia smilacifolia Burch. ex Benth.
  174. Bauhinia stenantha Diels
  175. Bauhinia subclavata Benth.
  176. Bauhinia subrotundifolia Cav.
  177. Bauhinia taitensis Taub.
  178. Bauhinia tarapotensis Benth.
  179. Bauhinia tenella Benth.
  180. Bauhinia thailandica Chatan & Promprom
  181. Bauhinia thompsonii I.M.Johnst.
  182. Bauhinia tomentosa L.
  183. Bauhinia tuichiensis Cayola & A.Fuentes
  184. Bauhinia uberlandiana Vaz & G.P.Lewis
  185. Bauhinia ungulata L.
  186. Bauhinia urbaniana Schinz
  187. Bauhinia uruguayensis Benth.
  188. Bauhinia variegata L.
  189. Bauhinia vespertilio S.Moore
  190. Bauhinia viridescens Desv.
  191. Bauhinia weberbaueri Harms
  192. Bauhinia wunderlinii R.Torres
  193. Bauhinia xerophyta Du Puy & R.Rabev.


One hybrid is known:[11]


Several fossils of Bauhinia species have been discovered:

  • Bauhinia cheniae Qi Wang, Z. Q. Song, Y. F. Chen, S. Shen & Z. Y. Li[12]
  • Bauhinia cretacea Newberry[13]
  • Bauhinia fotana F.M.B. Jacques et al.[14]
  • Bauhinia gigantea Newberry[15]
  • Bauhinia gracilis J.R. Tao[16]
  • Bauhinia larsenii D.X. Zhang & Y. F. Chen[17]
  • Bauhinia ningmingensis Qi Wang, Z. Q. Song, Y. F. Chen, S. Shen & Z. Y. Li[12]
  • Bauhinia potosiana Berry[18]
  • Bauhinia thonningii Schum.[19]
  • Bauhinia ungulatoides Y.X.Lin, W.O.Wong, G.L.Shi, S.Shen & Z.Y.Li[20]
  • Bauhinia wenshanensis H.H. Meng & Z.K. Zhou[21]
  • Bauhinia wyomingiana Brown[22][23]

Segregated genera[edit]

Species in the genera Barklya, Gigasiphon, Lysiphyllum, Phanera (including Lasiobema), Piliostigma, Schnella, and Tylosema are sometimes included in Bauhinia sensu lato or considered as tribe Bauhinieae.


  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. ^ a b c "Plants of the World Online entry for Bauhinia". Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. 2023. Retrieved 5 September 2023.
  3. ^ Wunderlin RP (2010). "Reorganization of the Cercideae (Fabaceae: Caesalpinioideae)" (PDF). Phytoneuron. 48: 1–5.
  4. ^ Sunset Western Garden Book, 1995:606–607; OED: "Bauhinia"
  5. ^ 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. hdl:10568/90658.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ "SEINet Portal Network - Bauhinia lunarioides".
  8. ^ Merrill, Elmer Drew (1903). A dictionary of the plant names of the Philippine Islands. Bureau of Public Printing, Department of The Interior. p. 128 – via University of Michigan Digital Collections.
  9. ^ Seidemann, Johannes (2005). World Spice Plants. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. p. 64. ISBN 9783540279082.
  10. ^ "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.
  11. ^ a b "GRIN species records of Bauhinia". Germplasm Resources Information Network. Archived from the original on 2015-09-24. Retrieved 5 May 2014.
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ 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.
  15. ^ 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. Archived from the original on 2017-03-07. Retrieved 2017-03-06.
  16. ^ Tao JR, Zhou ZK, Liu YS (2000). The Evolution of the Late Cretaceous–Cenozoic floras in China. Beijing: Science Press.
  17. ^ 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.
  18. ^ 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.
  19. ^ Eisenmann V. (1994). "Equidae of the Albertine rift valley, Uganda". Geol Paleobiol Albertine Rift Valley, Uganda-Zaire. 2: 289–307.
  20. ^ 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.
  21. ^ 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.
  22. ^ Knowlton F-H. (1899). "Fossil flora of the Yellowstone National Park". US Geol Surv Mon. 32: 651–791.
  23. ^ 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