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Bauhinia divaricata.jpg
Bauhinia divaricata flowers
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Caesalpinioideae
Tribe: Cercideae[1]
Genus: Bauhinia
Type species
Bauhinia divaricata

239–334; 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/[4] is a genus of more than 500 species of flowering plants in the subfamily Caesalpinioideae of the large flowering plant family Fabaceae, with a pantropical distribution. The genus was named after the Bauhin brothers, Swiss-French botanists.

Many species are widely planted in the tropics as orchid trees, particularly in India, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and southeastern China. Other common names include mountain ebony and kachnar (India and Pakistan). In the United States, the trees grow in Hawaii, coastal California, Texas, Louisiana, and Florida. 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 prefer acidic 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


Accepted species[edit]

Bauhinia includes at least the following species:[5][6][7]

Species names with uncertain taxonomic status[edit]

The status of the following species is unresolved:[7]

  • 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 audax (de Wit) G.Cusset
  • Bauhinia aurea H. Lév.
  • 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[9]
  • Bauhinia cookii Rose
  • Bauhinia corymbosa Roxb. ex DC.
  • Bauhinia crocea Drake
  • Bauhinia cucullata Desv.
  • Bauhinia cumingiana (Benth.) Fern.-Vill.
  • Bauhinia damiaoshanensis T.C. Chen
  • 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 quinnanensis T.C.Chen
  • Bauhinia reniformis Royle ex Baker
  • Bauhinia rubescens Pers.
  • Bauhinia ruficarpa Desv.
  • Bauhinia scortechinii Prain ex King
  • Bauhinia sellowiana Vogel
  • Bauhinia siamensis K.Larsen & S.S.Larsen
  • Bauhinia sirindhorniae K.Larsen & S.Larsen
  • 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:[6]

Segregate genera[edit]

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



  1. ^ 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. 
  2. ^ a b "Genus: Bauhinia L.". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 2007-03-29. Retrieved 2010-12-06. 
  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. ^ "ILDIS LegumeWeb entry for Bauhinia". International Legume Database & Information Service. Cardiff School of Computer Science & Informatics. Retrieved 8 May 2014. 
  6. ^ 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. Retrieved 5 May 2014. 
  7. ^ 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. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Anacacho Orchid Tree - Bauhinia congesta". Archived from the original on 8 January 2015. Retrieved 8 January 2015. 

External links[edit]