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Malaysian Flora USDA Zone 11
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Friday, June 3, 2011

Bauhinia purpurea - The Butterfly Tree


The Bauhinia purpurea is an ornamental tree that is grown for its beautiful orchid like flowers and butterfly shaped leaves. The flowers are fragrant.

Although it is commonly called the Hong Kong Orchid Tree, this is not the flower depicted in the Hong Kong flag. The emblem flower of Hong Kong is the Bauhinia blakeana, which is a natural hybrid of B. purpurea and B. variegata.

The genus 'Bauhinia' is named in honour of the Bauhin brothers who were Swiss-French botanists.

Bauhinia purpurea”, a copyrighted post, was written for My Nice Garden blog by Autumn Belle @ http://www.mynicegarden.com/ on June 3rd 2011.



Scientific name: Bauhinia purpurea
Family: Fabaceae
Native to: South China, Southeast Asia, India

Common names:
Purple Bauhinia, Butterfly Tree, Hawaiian Orchid Tree,
Moutain Ebony, Geranium Tree, Purple Camel's Foot

In Malay it is called "Tapak Unta" meaning Camel's Foot or "Tapak Kuda" meaning Horse Hooves.

Photographs taken at Taman Botani Putrajaya (Botanic Garden) in 2010.


The flowers are magenta or purplish pink in colour.
Each flower has 5 petals. They also have showy and protruding stamens and pistils.
The fruit is a pod of about 30cm long. Each pod contains between 12-16 seeds.
The leaves are 10-20cm long, bilobed at the base and apex. They are shaped like camels' hooves.


A small to medium sized tree, it can grow to a height of 17 m. It is a fast-growing deciduous tree. The tree has beautiful foliage. It flowers best on dry soil but it also looks good even without the flowers.

Growing requirements:
USDA Zone 9a-11, rich, fertile and well drained soil, full sun to partial shade. Prune for shape and to strengthen its structure. Propagation is by seeds.


The roots, bark, flowers and leaves are used in traditional remedies to cure various ailments. There are some ongoing research on the wound healing potential of the B. purpurea leaves.

Are you growing this beautiful tree?

This is my entry for Fertilizer Friday hosted by Glenda at Tootsie Time here.

15 comments:

  1. Great pics, Autumn Belle :)
    I have this beauty growing in my garden too. It's so pretty isn't it?

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  2. Bauhinia is beautiful. Unfortunately many do not appreciate it and has removed it from the roadside landscape.

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  3. I'm always amazed when I see photos of this tree in bloom! Lovely... L

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  4. What a lovely Bauhinia.

    FlowerLady

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  5. This tree is new to me and wowzer that bloom is gorgeous!

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  6. Lovely shots AutumnBelle. No, I don't have a Bauhinia.

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  7. Didn't know the name of the flower; thanks for sharing. The trees here too have bloomed these flowers. So pretty!

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  8. Wow it's beautiful and it cures ailments that's rare!

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  9. Beautiful! I wish I could smell the lovely fragrance. Thanks for the detailed info.

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  10. What an awesome tree. Absolutely beautiful.

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  11. What a stunner! Some of the best trees and plants come from your part of the world! Beautiful.

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  12. What a beautiful tree Autumn. The blooms are just gorgeous.

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  13. Wow! It's so pretty! I would love to smell its fragrance.

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  14. Gorgeous flower. It must be amazing to see it. V

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  15. Hi AB, I'm back from a brief absence, but I've missed out on quite a few of your blog postings. This bauhinia post is great! Lots of info. That close-up is lovely.
    Since I'm away so much, my MISSION QUITE POSSIBLE is now a monthly mission. Mission #4 is to capture a vision of loveliness. Hope you'll join us this month.
    Rosie

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