Phanera variegata is a species of flowering plant in the family Fabaceae, native to South Asia and Southeast Asia, from southern China, Burma, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Common names include orchid tree, camel's foot tree, kachnar and mountain-ebony.
It is a small to medium-sized tree growing to 10–12 metres (33–39 ft) tall, deciduous in the dry season. The leaves are 10–20 centimetres (3.9–7.9 in) obcordate shaped, long and broad, rounded, and bilobed at the base and apex. The flowers are conspicuous, bright pink or white, 8–12 centimetres (3.1–4.7 in) diameter, with five petals. The fruit is a pod 15–30 centimetres (5.9–11.8 in) long, containing several seeds.
This is a very popular ornamental tree in subtropical and tropical climates, grown for its scented flowers and also used as food item in South Asian cuisine. In the Neotropics, it can be used to attract hummingbirds—such as sapphire-spangled emerald (Amazilia lactea), glittering-bellied emerald (Chlorostilbon lucidus), or white-throated hummingbird (Leucochloris albicollis)—into gardens and parks. On the other hand, in some areas it has become naturalised and invasive.
Uses as food
Kachnar is widely used as an ingredient in many Pakistani and Indian recipes. Traditional kachnar curry is prepared using kachnar buds, yogurt, onions and native Pakistani and Indian spices. In Rawalpindi, Pakistan Kachnar is cooked with minced beef.
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- Germplasm Resources Information Network: Phanera variegata (as Bauhinia variegata)
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- Invasive Species South Africa
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