Origin: Eastern Asia (India, China)
Introduction to Florida: 1936 (ornamental
Orchid tree is occasionally found growing in disturbed sites in the central and southern peninsula of Florida. It is native to tropical Asia but escaped from cultivation. Bauhinia variegata blooms in the spring (Wunderlin, 2003).Description
Appearance: Semi-deciduous tree to 15 m (50 ft) tall, with a spreading crown.
Leaves: Alternate, long petioled, to 3 cm (1.25 in) long, thin-leathery, simple but deeply cleft at apex, forming 2 large rounded lobes; lower surfaces downy, especially at top of petiole; blades with 11–13 veins extending from heart-shaped or rounded base.
Flowers: Showy, fragrant, in few-flowered clusters near stem tips; 5 petals, clawed, overlapping, pale magenta to indigo (occasionally white), with dark red and yellow also on upper petal; 5 stamens (rarely 6).
Fruit: A flat, oblong pod, to 30 cm (1ft) long, 10–15-seeded.