Scientific name: Bauhinia variegata

English names: Camel’s Foot, Mountain Ebony,Orchid Tree, Variegated Bauhinia.

Local names: RaktaKanchon, Lal-kanchon, Vaga-kanchon.

Botanical Description:

Habit: A medium-sized deciduous tree, trunk short, bark nearly smooth with vertical cracks, young shoots brown pubescent.

Leaves: Leaves simple, alternate, petiolate, petioles 2.0-3.8 cm long, lamina 4.5-15.0 cm long, as broad as or rather broader than long, with a medium cleft reaching one-fourth to one third the way down, lobes obtuse, the base is deeply heart-shaped, rigidly subcoriaceous, grey-glaucous and pubescent, especially on the nerves beneath when young, 9-15 nerved.

Inflorescence: Inflorescence terminal or axillary, few-flowered, pubescent raceme.

Flower: Flowers large, showy, fragrant, purple, pink or white, showy, bloom in leafless condition, c 7.5 cm across when in full bloom, pedicels short or absent, bracteoles minute, hypanthium slender, 1.2-2.5 cm long. Calyx spathaceous, grey tomentose, tube cylindric, 2.0-2.7 cm long, slender, 5 toothed at the apex. Petals 5, free, 4-6 cm long, obovate or oblanceolate, all white or 4 pale purple and fifth one darker with dark purple veins.

Androecium: Stamens 5, fertile, staminode absent.

Gynoecium: Ovary hairy, stipe 1.0-1.7 cm long, style long, stigma minute, capitate.

Fruit: Fruit a pod, 15-25 x 1-2 cm, oblong, flat, glabrous, slightly curved, hard with short stipe, dehiscent, 10-15 seeded.

Economic Importance: It is one of the most beautiful ornamental trees when in flower in hot season. It is important for chemical products, foods and drinks, forages, medicines and woods. The bark is employed as an astringent, alterative and tonic, and is prescribed for remedy of scrofula, skin diseases, diarrhoea, dysentery, piles and ulcer . Both the barks and roots are used to cure various digestive troubles. The bark is also used for dyeing and tanning and for fiber . Wood is suitable for construction work and making agricultural implements.