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.


Kingdom Plantae
Family Fabaceae

Detailed Informations

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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