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Botanical Name :Bauhinia acuminata
Species: B. acuminata
Common names :Dwarf White Bauhinia, White Orchid-tree and Snowy Orchid-tree,
Indian Name :Kanchan
Habitat : Native to tropical southeastern Asia. The exact native range is obscure due to extensive cultivation, but probably from Malaysia, Indonesia (Java, Borneo, Kalimantan, Lesser Sunda Islands), and the Philippines. It grows on open valleys with good loamy soil at elevations of 150 – 1800 metres.
Semi-deciduous large shrub or small tree with white butterfly-like flowers, everblooming (Flower season: Spring through fall). Drought tolerant. Bauhinia acuminata is very sensitive to cold wind; while similar looking Bauhinia racemosa (with pointed petals) is hardier species. Pea shaped pod with 4 to 6 seeds.
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Bauhinia acuminata is a species of flowering shrub. It grows two to three meters tall. Like the other Bauhinia species, the leaves are bilobed, shaped like an ox hoof; they are 6 to 15 centimeters long and broad, with the apical cleft up to 5 cm deep; the petiole is 1.5 to 4 centimeters long. The flowers are fragrant, 8 to 12 centimeters in diameter, with five white petals, ten yellow-tipped stamens and a green stigma. The fruit is a pod 7.5 to 15 centimeters long and 1.5 to 1.8 centimeters broad.
It is widely cultivated throughout the tropics as an ornamental plant. It may be found as an escape from cultivation in some areas, and has become naturalised on the Cape York Peninsula, Australia.
Prefers a fertile, moisture-retentive but well-drained soil, requiring a warm sheltered position in full sun[200, 260]. When grown in warm Temperate zones, this species can withstand short periods of temperatures as low as -5°c. In Britain, it is only likely to succeed outdoors in the very mildest parts of the country, and even then would probably require the protection of a south-facing wall. There are some cultivars, developed for their ornamental value.
Seed – pre-soak for 12 hours in warm water then sow in mid spring in a greenhouse. When large enough t handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant out in early summer, after the last expected frosts and consider giving some protection from the cold for their first winter or two outdoors. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, with the leaves removed, in moist sand July/August in a frame. Gentle bottom heat is usually required. Layering.
Edible Uses: The young leaves, flowers and fruits are boiled and eaten as a vegetable, or are pickled.
The bark is alterative, anthelmintic, astringent and tonic. The juice of the bark is used in the treatment of amoebic dysentery, diarrhoea and other stomach disrders. A paste of the bark is useful in the treatment of cuts and wounds, skin diseases, scrofula and ulcers. The dried buds are used in the treatment of piles, dysentery, diarrhoea and worms. The juice of the flowers is used to treat diarrhoea, dysentery and other stomach disorders. The root is used as an antidote to snake poison. A decoction of the root is used to treat dyspepsia.
The bark is a source of tannins. It is used for dyeing. Wood – used for house construction and making household implements. A very popular ornamental tree in subtropical and tropical climates, grown for its scented flowers. The leaves, shoots and pods of B. variegata are used as fodder for livestock, including sheep, goats and cattle. Average leaf yield from a mature tree is about 20-22 kg fresh weight per annum. Erosion control or dune stabilization, Shade and shelter, Windbreak. Fuels:Charcoal, Fuelwood.
Disclaimer: The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.