tree, Purple Orchid Tree, Mountain Ebony, Poor Man's Orchid
name would seem to imply that it has variegated leaves,
B. variegata doesn't, color variation appears
within its flowers. The flower contains shades of purple
from very light to very dark on the primary petal.
variegata (Orchid tree) bloom and seed pod.
regional flag of the Hong Kong Special
Administrative Region is a red flag with a
bauhinia highlighted by five star-tipped stamens.Click image to enlarge.
variegata (Orchid tree) bloom. Click image to enlarge.
Orchid tree, Purple Orchid Tree, Mountain
Ebony, Poor Man's Orchid
in warm areas, fully in cool areas
India and S.E. Asia
9 - 11 -- Usually recovers from brief
freezes (after dropping its leaves), will stay
shrub-like where subjected to frost and freezing. Can
survive temperatures to 22 F.
Rate of Growth:
Acidic, fertile, moist, but well-drained
Water freely during the summer and less so
Nutritional Requirements: Balanced
liquid fertilizer monthly
Light Requirements: Full
sun for best flowering
Multi-trunk shrub or small tree growing as wide as it does high.
Briefly deciduous leaves 4-6" across
and rounded with lobed ends and heart shaped bases.
Bears beautiful fragrant flowers abundantly
Feb. -- May and intermittently through summer.
Bauhinia variegata color variation appears within its
flowers. The flower contains shades of purple from very
light to very dark on the primary petal. The petals
flat, narrow seed pods
Pests or diseases:
Aphids, spider mites, whiteflies, mealybugs,
fungal leaf spots, stem galls and root-rot.
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. Hong Kong
orchid tree (Bauhinia X blakeana is a
sterile hybrid between (probably) B. variegata
and B. purpurea, and is usually considered to be
the most beautiful of all the orchid trees. It is a
somewhat larger tree, evergreen with large thick leaves
and striking purplish red flowers.
Exotic Pest Plant Council lists the orchid tree as a
Category 1 invasive species. This category identifies
"invasive exotics that are altering native plant
communities by displacing native species, changing
community structures or ecological functions, or
hybridizing with natives". This was one of the
original eleven species that the Florida Nurserymen and
Growers Association recommended for removal from the
market by its members.
Cost: $$ --
Seeds germinate readily. Can be propagated from cuttings of semi-ripe
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
AMERICAN HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY A-Z ENCYCLOPEDIA OF GARDEN PLANTS,
Flowering Trees of Florida