Bauhinia variegata

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Bauhinia variegata
Bauhinia variegata flower.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Genus: Bauhinia
B. variegata
Binomial name
Bauhinia variegata
  • Bauhinia chinensis (DC.) Vogel
  • Bauhinia decora Uribe
  • Phanera variegata (L.) Benth.

Bauhinia variegata is a species of flowering plant in the legume family Fabaceae. It is native to an area from China through Southeast Asia to the Indian subcontinent.[2] Common names include orchid tree (though not belonging to the family Orchidaceae) and mountain ebony.[2]


It is a small to medium-sized tree growing to 10–12 metres (33–39 ft) tall, deciduous in the dry season; the leaves are 10–20 centimetres (3.9–7.9 in) obcordate shaped, long and broad, rounded, and bilobed at the base and apex. The flowers are conspicuous, bright pink or white, 8–12 centimetres (3.1–4.7 in) diameter, with five petals.

The fruit is a seedpod 15–30 centimetres (5.9–11.8 in) long, containing several seeds. The seedpod dries completely on the tree, and when mature begins to twist into a helix or corkscrew shape, (see below), ultimately exploding open—with a very audible "clack"—to deliver its seeds into the environs.

In cultivation[edit]

This is a very popular ornamental tree in subtropical and tropical climates, grown for its scented flowers and also used as a food item in Indian cuisine. In the Neotropics, it can be used to attract hummingbirds—such as sapphire-spangled emerald (Amazilia lactea), glittering-bellied emerald (Chlorostilbon lucidus), or white-throated hummingbird (Leucochloris albicollis)—into gardens and parks.[3] On the other hand, in some areas it has become naturalised and invasive.


Uses as food[edit]

Kachnar is a local name in India for the edible buds collected from the tree; it is widely used as an ingredient in many Indian recipes. Traditional kachnar curry is prepared using kachnar buds, yogurt, onions and native Indian spices. Kachnar buds are also eaten as a stir-fried vegetable and used to make achaar, a pickle in many parts of the Indian sub-continent. In some regions it is cooked with minced beef.


  1. ^ a b "Bauhinia variegata". International Legume Database & Information Service (ILDIS). Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Bauhinia variegata". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  3. ^ Baza Mendonça, Luciana; dos Anjos, Luiz (2005). "Beija-flores (Aves, Trochilidae) e seus recursos florais em uma área urbana do Sul do Brasil [Hummingbirds (Aves, Trochilidae) and their flowers in an urban area of southern Brazil]. [Portuguese with English abstract]" (PDF). Revista Brasileira de Zoologia. 22 (1): 51–59. doi:10.1590/S0101-81752005000100007.

External links[edit]