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Bauhinia variegata

Pronunciation: Bah-hin-ee-uh vair-ee-eh-gay-tuh
Family: Fabaceae/leguminosae (bean family)
Common Name: Orchid tree, purple orchid tree, mountain ebony, poor man's orchid
Plant Type:
  • trees, shrubs
Height to: 20-40'
USDA Hardiness Zones:
  • 30 to 20ºF ZONE 9
  • 40 to 30ºF ZONE 10
  • 50 to 40ºF ZONE 11
Sun Exposure:
  • part sun
  • full sun
Bloom Season:
  • early spring
  • mid spring
  • late spring
  • early summer
  • mid winter
  • late winter
Bloom Description: The flowers are reminiscent of showy orchids, with five irregular, usually slightly overlapping petals in shades of magenta, lavender or purplish blue. The flowers often make their first appearance in late winter while the tree is bare of leaves. The blooming period then lasts until early summer. The flowers are 3-5 in (7. 6-12. 7 cm) across and carried in clusters at the branch tips. A member of the bean family, orchid tree produces flattened brown woody legumes (pods) up to 12 in (30. 5 cm) long.
Soil Type: Orchid trees do best in acidic soil and suffer under limey conditions. They are not tolerant of salty conditions, either. Water freely during the summer and less so in winter. Orchid tree may drop its leaves during winter drought, but this is not a bad thing.
Plant Perks:
  • Fragrant
Pests and Diseases: Fungal leaf spots, stem gall, root rot, aphids, spider mites, mealybugs
Propagation: Seeds germinate readily. Orchid tree also can be propagated from cuttings of semiripe wood taken in summer and rooted over bottom heat. Branches can be induced to grow roots if they are layered, either by burying a section in the ground, or scarring a small section and then wrapping it with damp sphagnum moss and enclosing in a plastic bag. The tree sometimes produces suckers which can be dug up and replanted.
Native to: Orchid trees is native to northern india, viet nam and southeastern china.
Notes for Identification: Source: floridata - orchid tree is used as a street tree, shade tree, specimen or focal tree in tropical and subtropical landscapes. It bears beautiful fragrant flowers abundantly in late winter and early spring and intermittently through summer. Orchid trees have brittle branches that can break in strong winds and they can be messy, dropping hundreds of dried pods in autumn. The hybrid, hong kong orchid tree doesn't produce pods because it is sterile.  
USDA Heat Zones (days above 86ºF):
  • 150 to 180 days ZONE 10
  • 180 to 210 days ZONE 11
  • Greater then 210 ZONE 12
Seed photo: 1
Seed Label: 0
Located in: Seed Photos
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