Herbs & Plants

Bauhinia purpurea

Botanical Name:
Family: Fabaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fabales
Genus: Bauhinia
Species:B. purpurea

*Bauhinia castrata Blanco
*Bauhinia coromandeliana DC.
*Bauhinia kurzii Prain
*Bauhinia rosea Kurz
*Bauhinia triandra Roxb.
*Caspareopsis purpurea (L.) Pittie

Common Names: Orchid Tree, Purple Butterfly Tree, Mountain Ebony, Geranium Tree, Purple Bauhinia, Purple bauhinia, Camel’s foot, Butterfly tree, and Hawaiian orchid tree

Habitat:Bauhinia purpurea is native to E. Asia – India, Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand. It grows in the mixed and sal forests of the sub-Himalayan tract, ascending to 1,200 metres. It is characteristic of mixed deciduous forests, often of a dry type, occurring on hill slopes, in valleys, and along streams.

Bauhinia purpurea is a small to medium-size deciduous tree growing to 17 feet (5.2 m) tall. The leaves are 10–20 centimetres (3.9–7.9 in) long and broad, rounded, and bilobed at the base and apex. The flowers are conspicuous, pink, and fragrant, with five petals. The fruit is a pod 30 centimetres (12 in) long, containing 12 to 16 seeds. Leaves are alternate.


In the United States of America, the tree grows in Hawaii, coastal California, southern Texas, and southwest Florida. Bauhinia × blakeana is usually propagated by grafting it onto B. purpurea stems.

Edible Uses:
Edible portion: Flowers, Leaves, Seeds, Fruit, Gum. Leaves – cooked and eaten as a vegetable. They are used in curries. Flower buds and flowers – cooked and eaten as a vegetable. The flower buds are often pickled or used in curries. Young seedpods – cooked and eaten as a vegetable. The seeds are fried and eaten. The gum is edible.

Medicinal Uses:
The root is carminative. The flowers are laxative. The bark, roots and flowers, when mixed with rice-water, are used in poultice form as a maturant.

Other Uses:
Landscape Uses: Pest tolerant, Aggressive surface roots possible, Specimen, Blooms are very showy. Form: Rounded, Vase. Agroforestry Uses: This tree should make an excellent pioneer with its ease of establishment, rapid growth and hardiness. Some thought should be given, however, to the possibility of it escaping from cultivation. Other Uses The plant yields a gum. The bark is a source of tannins. It is also used for dyeing. A fibre is obtained from the bark. The wood is rosy-white in colour, turning brown upon exposure to the atmosphere. Fine and closely grained, it is hard and durable. It is used for carpentry and joinery when large enough; otherwise it is used for agricultural implements. The wood is used for fuel.

Known Hazards:
In India, the bark is extensively applied in glandular diseases and as a poison antidote while the leaves are administered as cough medicine. The flowers are said to be laxative and used in curries and pickles.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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