Sunday, July 8, 2012

BAUHINIA FORFICATA ~ Brazilian White Orchid tree is a favorite

I'm joining Macro Monday with Lisa at Lisa's Chaos. :0)
All photos are from my tropical garden here in Houston.
Why give this one a wink?
Bauhinia forficata is a great little tree for the tropical garden. It has some of the most exotic blooms available for the U.S. Gulf Coast. Its trunk hardy down to 20F and stem hardy to 26F. Leaves are deciduous after a freeze. Steady bloomer all summer.
What I'm concerned about:
Just one thing; it would eventually like to take over your tropical garden. This is not always a bad thing when you like beautiful plants.
Anything else?
Okay, two things; every time you edge around this tree the cut root will sucker and give you a small tree. Since the root is already 'mature', the foot tall saplings will be in bloom. Again, if you don't mind beauty this is a good thing.
Anything else?
Yes, the branches contain small thorns. I hate plants with thorns, but this one is an exception. There are other species of Bauhinias that are thornless, but not this one.
B. forficata grows to a height of 20 feet (6-7 meters)
The young leaves are beautiful!
Hey Mr. Garden Wink, you promised a story for each
Okay, this one is quite interesting. This plant is never, NEVER, NEVER for sale. You have to find a friend who has one and make a plea to have a baby from their yard. I don't remember how I even got mine, but it was 12 years ago. 
However, I read a story in our newspaper about a lady in The Heights who gives away seeds of every variety of Bauhinia she grows. She leaves packages in a seed box on her fence. Why? She wants the Bauhinia to be the symbol for Houston and she wants these trees all over the city. I agree. We really do need more of these trees around, so I wish her the best of luck.
Bauhinia acuminata is also white, but has flowers with a roundish, thicker petal. 
Bauhinia mexicana is also white, but looks very different from B. forficata.
There are at least 5-10 different Bauhinias that thrive along the Gulf Coast and they ARE for sale.  Happy plant hunting!

Thanks for stopping by!  David/:0)


  1. very beautiful flower..:)

    Dropping by from Macro Monday…Zinnia

  2. Beautiful plant...and interesting story!

  3. How beautiful! I have never seen this plant before. Perfect macro picture - thank you!

  4. Beautiful, that's an interesting plant.

  5. Very interesting, I look forward to your future posts!

    -Samudaworth Tree Service