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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


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


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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