Orchid tree

Orchid tree

Bauhinia variegata (Fabaceae)

Common Name:

Orchid tree

Scientific Name:

Bauhinia variegata (Fabaceae)


Alternative common names:

Mountain ebony (English); Orgideeboom (Afrikaans)

Description:

The orchid tree grows up to 6-10 m high. The leaves are thick and deeply divided into two lobes approximately 100mm long. Flowers are pink blotched or striped with red, cream or purple with narrow, non-overlapping petals. Flowers from August to October and produces  dark brown pods.

Additional Information


Where does this species come from?

Asia

What is its invasive status in South Africa?

Existing legislation: CARA 2002 NEMBA Category 1b in KZN, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Eastern Cape and 3 in rest of SA.

Where in South Africa is it a problem?

The orchid tree is mostly found in KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and Gauteng

How does it spread?

Dispersal is by seeds

Why is it a problem?

The orchid tree is a competitive invader which can compete with indigenous species

What does it look like?

General description: A deciduous or semi-evergreen tree growing 6-10m high with large roundish leaves and pinkish white flowers.
Leaves: The leaves are thick and deeply divided into two lobes and 100mm long.
Flowers: Light pinkish white flowers appear during August-October.
Fruit/Seeds: Produces dark brown pods 100-300mm long.

Does the plant have any uses?

Mostly used as an ornamental plant

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