Orchid Tree, Butterfly Tree, Mountain Ebony, Geranium Tree, Purple Bauhinia

Bauhinia purpurea

Family: Caesalpiniaceae (ses-al-pin-ee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Bauhinia (baw-HIN-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: purpurea (pur-PUR-ee-uh) (Info)


Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


20-30 ft. (6-9 m)


12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)


USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

Magenta (Pink-Purple)

White/Near White

Bloom Time:

Mid Fall

Late Fall/Early Winter

Mid Winter


Grown for foliage


Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse

From seed; germinate in a damp paper towel

By stooling or mound layering

Seed Collecting:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

, (2 reports)

Chandler, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona (2 reports)

Queen Creek, Arizona

Fontana, California

Huntington Beach, California

Long Beach, California

Sacramento, California

San Diego, California (2 reports)

Seal Beach, California

Spring Valley, California

Bartow, Florida

Deltona, Florida

Dunnellon, Florida

Eustis, Florida

Jupiter, Florida

Lakeland, Florida

Lutz, Florida

Melbourne, Florida

Miami, Florida

Montverde, Florida

Naples, Florida

North Fort Myers, Florida

Odessa, Florida

Orange City, Florida

Orlando, Florida (2 reports)

Pompano Beach, Florida (2 reports)

Port Richey, Florida

Saint Cloud, Florida

Sarasota, Florida (2 reports)

Tampa, Florida (2 reports)

Tarpon Springs, Florida

Titusville, Florida

Honomu, Hawaii

Pepeekeo, Hawaii

Lafayette, Louisiana

Marrero, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana (2 reports)

Poplarville, Mississippi

Saint Joseph, Missouri

Alamo, Texas

Austin, Texas

Beaumont, Texas

Brazoria, Texas

Houston, Texas

Humble, Texas

La Porte, Texas

New Braunfels, Texas

Richmond, Texas

Rosenberg, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

Spring, Texas

Woodway, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Apr 19, 2015, Lacey160 from Richmond, TX wrote:

Fast growing, interesting leaves and beautiful orchid like flowers. However my daughter and I each grew our trees last year from seeds from my boyfriend's tree, and while hers Is loaded with flowers, my is tala, green and healthy looking, but not a single bloom. A anybody know why not?..


On Jun 14, 2013, SpartanWarrior from Tarpon Springs, FL wrote:

This tree was already planted in our backyard when we moved to Tarpon Springs in 2001. It's a attractive tree with beautiful flowers, but does get messy. The tree is about 30 feet, but is dying now and will have to be removed soon.


On Apr 13, 2012, Wendy_Jane1 from Cape Town
South Africa wrote:

My dad propagated a plant from seed and I have it in a pot, it has the rounded leaves and a thin stem (I am supporting) 0 and the stem is about 25 cm in height now. When can I plant this out? and which season is best to do so? Bearing in mind now that we are in Autumn in the S. Hemisphere. I look forward to receiving any tips. My dad passed away in August and so now I have even more reason to try and raise this lovely plant into a tree!


On Oct 25, 2011, mannymercado from San Diego, CA wrote:

Attended a wedding in an Indian Reservation months ago and saw this white flowering tree on the front of the church. The flowers has sweet/delicate fragrance, then I started looking for seeds!!! You know gardeners are, they always look for seeds or pinch for cuttings!.
No seeds yet, so I sez to myself I'll be back in a month or so to see if there are some seeds.
Went to the same place about a month ago and lucky me got some seeds!!! Put some in a pot of soil 2-weeks ago and now I got lotsa 2-inch seedlings growing so beautifully!!!.


On Mar 23, 2011, paani from Saint Louis, MO (Zone 6a) wrote:

This tree, known as Koiraalo, grows well even on dry steep hillsides in the Himalayas. The flowers are made into a very tasty curry dish.


On Mar 21, 2011, bjgatorgirl from Orange City, FL wrote:

I need some info that I can't seem to find. Can anyone tell me if the orchid tree has to be a certain age to bloom. My friend has one it about 3 years old but has not bloomed? thanks


On May 26, 2010, Kiyzersoze from Coral Springs, FL (Zone 10b) wrote:

These trees seem to be hit or miss. Some are beautiful but most seem to be misshapen, straggly and short lived. If you happen to get one of the non-straggly ones they are well worth planting.


On Apr 23, 2008, Anita_Challis from Chandler, AZ wrote:

This plant grows well in Zone 9b (Chandler AZ). It survives the winter cold okay, even though it lost the canopy 2 years ago in a hard frost but the roots survived and grew a new 6 ft canopy in 12 months.
The tree needs regular watering during the summer months and feed 1x per month with iron to prevent chlorosis during the growing season and summer months.


On Jan 4, 2007, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Orchid Tree, Butterfly Tree, Mountain Ebony, Geranium Tree, Purple Bauhinia Bauhinia purpurea is Naturalized in Texas and other States.


On May 21, 2006, Two_and_a_cat from Titusville, FL wrote:

Grows very well here in Titusville, FL. It procreates without assistance, thank you very much! It is so beautiful in March/April when it blooms. It is partialy shaded by a live oak and water oak. It gets 30 minutes of water, twice a week.


On May 15, 2004, MotherNature4 from Bartow, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

The only time B. purpurea is attractive is when it is in bloom. The rest of the year it usually suffers from a lack of minor elements shown by its unattractive yellowed leaves.


On May 15, 2004, WalterT from San Diego, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

The Purple Orchid tree (B. variegata, B. purpurea) is hardy down to about 22 F. Flowers are 2-3" wide with colors ranging from light pink to orchid purple.

(Information from the Sunset Western Garden Book (c) 2001.)


On May 14, 2004, nicole_jaye from Alamo, TX wrote:

Let you know I live in deep south Texas and my neighbor has an Orchid Tree. I am surprised it acctually grew down here in the heat. I'll try to get a picture of it


On May 28, 2003, Nurafey from Polk City, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

This is a fast growing pretty tree that easily sows it's own seeds around it. It is very easy to grow from seed. It does look it's best if it is cut back every fall. It will have loads of orchid-like flowers every year. I liked it for it's Oriental look, which suits my tastes well.