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Bauhinia lunarioides (Anacacho orchid tree)
Bransford, W.D. and Dolphia

Bauhinia lunarioides

Bauhinia lunarioides A. Gray ex S. Watson

Anacacho orchid tree, Anacacho bauhinia, Orchid tree, Texas plume

Fabaceae (Pea Family)

Synonym(s): Bauhinia congesta, Bauhinia jermyana, Casparea congesta, Casparea jermyana

USDA Symbol: BALU

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

Native only to a few canyons in western central Texas and in adjacent northeastern Mexico, Anacacho orchid tree is a 6-12 ft., single- or multi-trunked shrub or small tree with small, light green, deeply cleft leaves. Delicate white to pale pink, orchid-like flowers with extended stamens appear prolifically in clusters. Fruit is a flattened pod.

Anacacho orchid tree makes a gorgeous display with its silvery gray bark and fragrant white flowers that resemble orchids. It is a relatively rapid-growing tree after its first year when placed in a favorable location, but should be planted on the south side of buildings in areas with harsh winters. The nectar attracts butterflies and bees.

The genus is named after Swiss herbalists, John and Caspar (1560-1624) Bauhin.

 

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Size Notes: 6-12 feet.
Leaf: Light green
Flower:
Fruit:
Size Class: 6-12 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Pink
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May
Bloom Notes: It also blooms sometimes after heavy summer/fall rains.

Distribution

USA: TX
Native Distribution: C. TX to n.e. Mex.
Native Habitat: Canyons & arroyos in limestone hills. Known only from canyons and arroyos in limestone hills in Kinney, Presidio, and Gillespie or Llano counties. Well-drained sand, loam, limestone.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
Cold Tolerant: yes
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Rocky, limestone soils. Sandy, sandy loam, medium loam, limestone-based
Conditions Comments: Does best when planted on the south side of a building, protected from winter winds.

Benefit

Use Ornamental: Blooms ornamental, Fast growing, Understory tree. Its unique foliage and showy flowers make it a beautiful speciman plant, or as a container plant for small areas.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Fragrant Flowers: yes
Interesting Foliage: yes
Nectar Source: yes
Deer Resistant: High

Propagation

Propagation Material: Seeds
Description: Untreated or acid-scarified seed planted in spring
Seed Collection: Collect in mid- to late summer when pods are brown and dry.
Seed Treatment: Scarification may help.
Commercially Avail: yes
Maintenance: If want to keep only a single trunk, prune judiciously early on. Do not fertilize much if at all, because it can cause weakness and lankiness and reduce flowering.

Mr. Smarty Plants says

Care for non-native, invasive Bauhinia variegata
March 03, 2006
I live in Fellsmere just south of Melbourne and we have about 5 orchid trees on our property; one is fairly tall, about 20 ft, and the others are about 6 ft tall. My smaller ones have several air p...
view the full question and answer

From the National Suppliers Directory

According to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:

Hill Country Natives - Leander, TX
Far South Wholesale Nursery - Austin, TX

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
Brackenridge Field Laboratory - Austin, TX
Native Plant Society of Texas - Fredericksburg, TX
NPSOT - Fredericksburg Chapter - Fredericksburg, TX
NPSOT - Austin Chapter - Austin, TX
NPSOT - Williamson County Chapter - Georgetown, TX

Bibliography

Bibref 481 - How to Grow Native Plants of Texas and the Southwest: Revised and Updated Edition (2001) Nokes, J.
Bibref 355 - Landscaping with Native Plants of Texas and the Southwest (1991) Miller, G. O.
Bibref 293 - Manual of the Vascular Plants of Texas (1979) Correll, D. S. & M. C. Johnston
Bibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski
Bibref 297 - Trees of Central Texas (1984) Vines, Robert A.
Bibref 286 - Wildflowers of the Texas Hill Country (1989) Enquist, M.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Additional resources

USDA: Find Bauhinia lunarioides in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Bauhinia lunarioides in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Bauhinia lunarioides

Metadata

Record Last Modified: 2010-02-02
Research By: TWC Staff, RLU, GDG

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