Bauhinia variegata
Common name: 
Orchid Tree
Mountain Ebony
Pronunciation: 
ba-HIN-ee-a ver-uh-GA-ta
Family: 
Fabaceae
Genus: 
Type: 
Broadleaf
Native to (or naturalized in) Oregon: 
No
  • Broadleaf semi-evergreen to deciduous shrub or tree, most often observed as a multi-stemmed, wide-spreading shrub, can be staked so it develops into an attractive tree about 25 ft (~7.5 m) tall and similar width.   Leaves simple, alternate, to 20 cm, bilobed to about one-third the blade, lobes obtuse, base subobicular or cordate, light green, sparsely hairy on veins below.  Flowers in terminal clusters (racemes), few per cluster, they appear at or after leaf fall, each orchid-like flower is about 5-8 cm wide, and has 5 unequal petals, light pink to pale purple, occasionally white, 5 obvious stamens.  Fruit is a flattened, woody pod, 30 cm long and 2.5 cm wide (~12 × 1 inch), many are formed and appear messy; can be trimmed off.
  • Sun, best on well-drained soil.    
  • Hardy to USDA Zone 9  (low 20 to 30° F)  Native to Asia, especially India and China.
  • variegata: variegated, to be of different colors, presumably a reference to the flower.
Click image to enlarge
  • plant habit, flowering

    plant habit, flowering

  • flower clusters and leaves

    flower clusters and leaves

  • flower

    flower

  • leaf

    leaf

  • fruit and leaves

    fruit and leaves

  • fruit

    fruit