Notable Plants

Bauhinia variegata – Purple Orchid Tree

Bauhinia variegata - Purple Orchid Tree


  • Height: 20-35′
  • Spread: 20-35′
  • Planted by: Cornell
  • Replanted: 1996 by Bixby Land Company
  • Family: Fabaceae (Leguminosae)
  • Synonyms
    • Common Names: Camels Foot Tree
    • Botanical Names: B. purpurea

Bauhinia variegata - Purple Orchid TreeA semi evergreen, small tree that has unusually shaped leaves. The two lobes join together looking very much like a hoof print (hence camels foot tree).

The leaves are a dull green that fair better on the coast than in hot interior valleys. When it blooms one understands why interior growers plant them anyway.

In late winter the tree presents lovely flowers reminiscent of orchids scattered throughout the canopy. Given an opportunity to look at the flowers close up you are very likely to be captivated. The flowers are 3” wide in light pink to purple tones.

Typical for the family, they produce persistent dark brown, bean-like pods at the end of summer. When ripe the pods twist and spring open flinging the flat disc-like seeds away.

Join a garden tour to hear the stories this plant has to tell!