Scientific: Bauhinia blakeana
Common: Hong Kong orchid tree
Family: Fabaceae (Leguminosae)
Origin: China, India

Pronounciation: Bow-HEN-ee-a bla-key-A-na

Hardiness zones
13, 18-23
USDA 9-11

Landscape Use: Spring flowering accent or specimen tree, mesic and oasis landscape design themes

Form & Character: Briefly deciduous in fall, subtropical, oasis-like landscape setting that especially complements Spanish or oriental architecture.

Growth Habit: Rounded tree 20 to 40 feet height with slightly less than equal spread.

Foliage/texture: Rounded, light green two-lobed leaves or strongly emarginated, larger than foliage of B. variegata; coarse texture.

Flowers & fruits: Large white, pink to purple tubular orchid flowers in terminal clusters; sterile producing no fruit.

Seasonal color: Spectacular flowers are displayed sporadically during late fall, but mostly during spring.

Temperature: Heat-loving (except for those scorching Phoenix summer afternoons when the air temperature soars past 110oF), hardy to 27oF.

Light: Full sun to partial shade, limit western sun.

Soil: Interveinal chlorosis in alkaline soil is a usual Phoenix occurrence that requires sometimes annual applications of micronutrient fertilizers, preferrably during early spring.

Watering: Apply water at frequent and regular intervals during the summer.

Pruning: Difficult to train when young because of tendency to grow long arching and somewhat brittle branches. Needs pruning and staking when young to promote structural integrity, elevate canopy base.

Propagation: Softwood cuttings or air layering of woody stem tissue.

Disease and pests: Spider mites, trunk heart rot.

Additional comments: This is a spectacular flowering tree with large light purple orchid flowers. Somewhat more frost and heat sensitive than B. variegata.