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
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.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Fruit Type: Legume
Size Notes: Up to about 12 feet tall.
Leaf: Light green
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Pink
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May
Bloom Notes: It also blooms sometimes after heavy summer/fall rains.
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 ConditionsWater 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.
BenefitUse 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
PropagationPropagation 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 Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
Brackenridge Field Laboratory - Austin, TX
NPSOT - Native Plant Society of Texas - Fredericksburg, TX
NPSOT - Fredericksburg Chapter - Fredericksburg, TX
NPSOT - Austin Chapter - Austin, TX
NPSOT - Williamson County Chapter - Georgetown, TX
BibliographyBibref 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
Web ReferenceWebref 1 - Texas Native Shrubs (2002) Texas A&M University Agriculture Program and Leslie Finical, Dallas Arboretum
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Bauhinia lunarioides in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Bauhinia lunarioides in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Bauhinia lunarioides
MetadataRecord Modified: 2022-10-17
Research By: TWC Staff, RLU, GDG