The California bay is a very tall tree (20-30 m) which is renowned for its many medicinal, nutritional and artisanal properties.
|Common name||White orchid tree|
|Binominal name||Bauhinia aculeata L.|
|Area of origin||South-America (Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru)|
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.
It requires a free-draining soil in a sunny to part-shade location. The species is tolerant to temperatures down to -7°C.
Translated by: François Saint-Hillier – MNHN
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