Red Orchid Tree
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Red Orchid Tree
ntroduced bilobed Photo: Pravin Kawale
Common name: Red Orchid Tree, Red Bauhinia, Pride of the Cape, African Plume, Nasturtium Bauhinia
Botanical name: Bauhinia galpinii    Family: Caesalpiniaceae (Gulmohar family)

This beautiful shrub comes from South Africa. In its wild state this medium to large shrub behaves more as a climber, clambering through the trees and shrubs of the dense thicket vegetation in which it occurs. It doesn't have to be grown in this fashion in your garden and with just a little pruning and training it can easily be trained into an attractive small tree or large garden shrub. Alternatively it can be encouraged in its clambering habit to cover structures. The leaves are deciduous. They are divided into two lobes, resembling the footprint of a cloven hoof. From mid-summer through mid-autumn it bears a heavy crop of brick-red to orangey orchid-like flowers. This species requires space, even if it is to be regularly pruned, and is not suitable for the small garden.

Identification credit: Tabish Photographed in Botanical Park, Hyderabad.

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