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 /bohɪni/ 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.
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 includes at least the following species:
The status of the following species is unresolved:
One hybrid is known:
Species in the genera Barklya, Gigasiphon, Lasiobema, Lysiphyllum, Phanera, Piliostigma, Schnella, and Tylosema are sometimes included in Bauhinia (sensu lato).