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Thursday - March 19, 2015

From: Dallas, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pollinators
Title: Pollinators of Bauhinia lunarioides (Anacacho orchid tree)
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

What are the pollinators of Bauhinia lunarioides? Also, is it a host plant for any butterfly or moth caterpillars?

ANSWER:

Our Native Plant Database entry for Bauhinia lunarioides (Anacacho orchid tree) says that its nectar attracts bees and butterflies, but it doesn't name a specific pollinator.  Etsy, a source for its seeds, reports monarch butterflies feeding on the nectar.  Another reference, Revision of the Arborescent Bauhinias (Fabaceae: Caesalpinioideae: Cercideae) Native to Middle America by Richard P. Wunderlin II from BioStor (the Biodiversity Heritage Library) says:

"Pollination in the Bauhinia group in Middle America is usually by chiropterophily [pollinated by bats], psychophily [pollinated by butterflies], and phanaenophily [?], with melittophily [pollinated by bees] and ornithophily [pollinated by birds] suspected in some species but unconfirmed."

Note:  the words in brackets are definitions found by Mr. Smarty Plants.  The word "phanaenophily" could not be found.  Mr. Smarty Plants thinks it was a mis-spelling and should be "phalaenophily" [moths].

Wunderlin includes Bauhinia lunarioides in his description but does not assign a pollinator to it.

The Boerne Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas in Butterfly Plants – Hill Country/San Antonio compiled by Patty Leslie Pasztor lists Bauhinia lunarioides as a larval host for the Long-tailed skipper (Urbanus proteus).

 

From the Image Gallery


Anacacho orchid tree
Bauhinia lunarioides

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