Common names: Purple Bauhinia, Orchid Tree, Camel's Foot, Butterfly Tree, Hawaiian Orchid Tree
Scientific name: Bauhinia purpurea
Plant history & use:
Purple Bauhinia is a beautiful tree with profuse purple flowers. The flowers smell like honeysuckle. The tree has its origins in the area around India and Myanmar.
Like the orchid tree (Bauhinia variegata) are flower buds, flowers, young leaves and young pods of Purple Bauhinia edible.
You can put in unopened flower buds in a way similar to how we put capers in Europe. They can also be put in pots and made different types of salsa on. The flower buds are called Kachnar in Indian - that's also the search term you use if you want to find recipes for using the unopened flower buds.
Bean pods are boiled and eaten as a vegetable on the side.
Seeds can be fried/roasted in a frying pan for consumption.
In Southeast Asia, Purpurbauhinian is also used to soothe swelling, bruises and heal wounds. In India, the leaves are used to make a type of cough medicine.
The Purpurbauhinian has its provenance from subtropical and tropical climates in southern Asia. Purpurbauhinian is not as cold hardy as The orchid tree, however, tolerates frost. On younger trees, leaves may be damaged by the frost and fall off, but the tree recovers during the growing season again.
In Sweden, cultivation in pots that overwinter above zero is recommended. If you have several trees, live in the warmer parts of the country and want to experiment with the borders, you should choose a location sheltered from the wind and sunny and cover the base of the tree with straw or similar over the winter. This insulates the tree against the worst of the cold. Regardless, you can preferably let the tree overwinter first year above zero to be able to grow as strongly as possible before planting out next year.
Purpurbauhinian likes to grow in nutrient-rich, well-drained soils with a lot of organic matter and a neutral to slightly basic pH: 6.5-7.5. Regular potting soil works well.
The tree can be propagated by cuttings as well as seeds.
Soak the seeds for 1-2 days before sowing.
Preferably sow indoors or in a greenhouse under a 1 cm layer of soil. Keep the seed moist. The seeds can still be considered quick-germinating, it usually doesn't take more than about 1 week before the seeds start to germinate, some of the seeds take longer.
Location: Sun / Partial shade
Height: 2-10 m
Germination Time: 1-4 weeks