Plant FinderPlant Finder Graphic
Bauhinia variegata (photo courtesy of Monrovia)
Bauhinia variegata (photo courtesy of Monrovia)

Click to Enlarge

Zones vary by species.
Full Sun
Regular Water


Orchid tree
Fabaceae (Leguminosae)
Deciduous, Evergreen, Shrubs, Trees, Semi-evergreen

These flamboyant flowering trees and shrubs have a very special place in Hawaii and mild-winter areas of California and Arizona. They vary greatly by species and climate. Common to all garden bauhinias are twin “leaves,” actually twin lobes. Thin crowded growth after bloom.

Bauhinia forficata

Native to Brazil. Probably the hardiest bauhinia. Often with twisting, leaning trunk and picturesque angled branches. Growing 20 ft. tall and wide, it makes good canopy for patio. Short, sharp thorns at branch joints. Narrow-petaled, creamy white flowers are 3 in. wide, appear from spring into summer. Deep green leaves have more pointed lobes than others.

Bauhinia variegata

Native to India, China. The plant is hardy to 22°F/–6°C. Most frequently planted bauhinia. Inclined to grow as a many-stemmed shrub, but if staked and pruned, becomes an attractive 20–35 ft. tree. Wonderful show of light pink to orchid purple, broad-petaled, 2–3-in.-wide flowers, usually winter into spring; spectacular street tree where spring is reliably and steadily warm. Light green, broad lobed leaves generally drop in midwinter. After bloom, it produces huge crop of messy-looking beans; trim them off if you wish (trimming brings new growth earlier).

Bauhinia x blakeana
Bauhinia x blakeana

Click to Enlarge

Bauhinia x blakeana

Umbrella-like growth habit to 20 ft. high and wide. Flowers bloom from late fall to spring and are shaped like some orchids; they are much larger (5 1/2–6 in.wide) than those of other bauhinias. Colors range from cranberry maroon through purple and rose to orchid pink, often in same blossom. Gray-green leaves tend to drop off around bloom time, but this partly deciduous tree does not lose all of its foliage. This is the city tree of Hong Kong.

You Might Also Like...

Pterocarya stenoptera

From China. Grows fast to 40–90 ft. tall and 30–50 ft. wide, with heavy, wide-spreading li...

Pear, Asian ‘Yoinashi’

Medium to large, brown-speckled pear with sweet, crisp flesh that has a hint of butterscotch flavor. V...

Nemophila maculata

Native to California. Flowers are white, marked with fine purple lines and dots; a large purple dot ap...

Find Your Sunset Climate Zone

Find Your Sunset Climate Zone

View Maps Learn More