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Due to the measures taken by the government to prevent the spread of Covid-19, the Jardin botanique Val Rahmeh Menton will remain closed.

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Arbre aux orchidées blanches (Bauhinia aculeata) - Jardin botanique Val Rahmeh-Menton © MNHN - Christophe Joulin
Arbre aux orchidées blanches (Bauhinia aculeata) - Jardin botanique Val Rahmeh-Menton © MNHN - Christophe Joulin

White orchid tree

This small tree with abundant branches is known as the “White Orchid Tree”. It belongs to the Bauhinia genus which includes 416 to 480 species. This species is very fragrant.

Identity Card

Common name
White orchid tree
Binominal name
Bauhinia aculeata L.

Taxonomy

Kingdom
Plantae
Family
Fabaceae

Detailed Informations

Area of origin
South-America (Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru)

Etymology

Bauhinia is a genus named after French botanists Jean and Gaspard Bauhin. Aculeata means “armed with prickles” (Latin).

Description and flowering period

Bauhinia aculeata is a small tree most commonly reaching 3 to 4 meters in height although occasionally reaching up to 15 meters. Its shape is bushy and round to slightly spreading. Its many branches are, in their juvenile stages, densely covered in many soft short hairs. The foliage is semi-persistent and bluish-green in colour. The leaves are heart-shaped and densely nerved. The flowers bear 5 large, white, lance-shaped and slightly recurved petals arranged in the shape of a fan. The yellow anthers (parts of the stamens containing the pollen) are the only part of the flower that is not pure white. The fruits are long flattened seed-pods.

Habitat

It requires a free-draining soil in a sunny to part-shade location. The species is tolerant to temperatures down to -7°C.

Uses

Ornamental.

Translated by: François Saint-Hillier – MNHN

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