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Products > Bauhinia x blakeana
 
Bauhinia x blakeana - Hong Kong Orchid Tree
  

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Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Tree
Family: Caesalpiniaceae (~Fabales)
Origin: China (Asia)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Magenta
Bloomtime: Fall/Spring
Parentage: (B. purpurea x B. variegata)
Height: 12-20 feet
Width: 15-20 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Irrigation (H2O Info): Medium Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 20-25 F
Bauhinia x blakeana (Hong Kong Orchid Tree) - This small tree grows to about 20 feet tall with a light gray smooth bark and an umbrella-shaped habit. It has rich rose-purple fragrant flowers with pink stamens; the flowers are larger than on other Bauhinia (5-6 inches in diameter!) and it flowers over a longer period, often starting in fall and extending to mid spring. It is also sterile so it does not set seed pods. This semi-deciduous tree can be drought deciduous in dry soils, cold deciduous in the event of a frost but even in irrigated warmer locations will drop some of its gray-green leaves in spring just as it begins to flower and can sometimes be seen in bloom completely devoid of leaves so that the flowers are even more noticeable. Plant in full sun and irrigate regularly. A great tree in fairly frost free areas with flowers that are very attractive to humans and hummingbirds and even as they drop, make a colorful groundcover. This cultivar is of Chinese origin, though there are conflicting stories as to its exact origins. One story is that it was discovered in or around 1880 near the ruins of a house along western Hong Kong Island shoreline near the residential area of Pok Fu Lam. The other story is that it was discovered by monks from the cathedral at Canton (now Guangzhou) on mainland China who noted it growing near a house along a nearby seashore and from there it was reportedly brought to Hong Kong in 1908 where a specimen was established at the Hong Kong Botanic Gardens. All of the cultivated trees in the world come from this one tree. It was named for Sir Henry Blake, the Governor of Hong Kong from 1898 to 1903 and is now the official floral emblem of Hong Kong. The parents of this hybrid are probably B. purpurea (native from India to the Malay Peninsula) and B. variegata (from eastern Asia). The name "Bauhinia" was a name given this genus by Linnaeus to honor the twin brothers Johann and Gaspard Bauhin, who were 16th century Swiss scientists - Johann was a botanist and Gaspard a botanist and physician. Using the name of these identical twin is fitting as Bauhinia leaves are composed of two identical lobes.  This description is based on our research and our observations of this plant growing in containers at our nursery, in our own garden and in other gardens. We always appreciate receiving feedback of any kind from those who have any additional information about this plant, particularly if they disagree with what we have written or have additional cultural tips that would aid others growing Bauhinia x blakeana .
 
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