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Purple Orchid Tree, Bauhinia purpurea L.

Go to - Landscape Trees
Landscape Shrubs

Family - Fabaceae

Purple Orchid Tree, also called Butterfly Tree is one of several Bauhinia trees & shrubs that grow in Florida.

The flowers of B. purpurea are quite variable and can be similar to other Bauhinia, often confused with B. variegata which has broader flower petals that overlap and is listed as a Category 1 invasive specie, meaning that it spreads into the wild and displaces native plants, damaging natural habitats.

Bauhinia blakeana, the Hong Kong Orchid Tree is a sterile hybrid that produces no seed pods, it is the preferred specie for landscape use in Florida.

Purple Orchid Tree blooms in the fall and winter, the large 5 inch flowers are mildly fragrant and put on a good show of color.

Alternately arranged leaves are simple, orbicular, lobed at the base & cleft at the tip with palmate venation.

Flowers resemble those of an orchid, with 5 narrow petals in shades of purple, pink & white. Foot long, flattened seed pods follow the flowers, often persisting on the tree until spring.

U.S.D.A. zones 9b - 11, Deciduous tree

Purple Orchid Tree can grow to 35-40 feet tall with an equal spread, likes full sun & well drained soil, with a slightly alkaline to acidic pH range, has good drought tolerance but little salt air resistance.

B. purpurea makes a nice landscape specimen tree, drawbacks are the seed pod & leaf litter which can be significant and the tendency of weak wood that can break in strong storms.

Florida Landscape Plants: Native and Exotic, second revised edition

Florida's Best Native Landscape Plants: 200 Readily Available Species for Homeowners and Professionals

Purple Orchid Tree - Bauhinia purpurea

eaves of Purple Orchid Tree - Bauhinia purpurea

Flower of Purple Orchid Tree,  Bauhinia purpurea

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