Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Anacacho Orchid Tree
Bauhinia lunarioides

Family: Caesalpiniaceae (ses-al-pin-ee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Bauhinia (baw-HIN-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: lunarioides (loo-nair-ee-OY-deez) (Info)

Synonym:Bauhinia congesta
Synonym:Bauhinia jermyana
Synonym:Casparea congesta
Synonym:Casparea jermyana

12 members have or want this plant for trade.


8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)
10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)

10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
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:
Full Sun

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
Pale Pink
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring
Late Spring/Early Summer


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)
7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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There are a total of 15 photos.
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3 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive jscaldwell On Jan 29, 2014, jscaldwell from Round Rock, TX wrote:

Nice looking tree, grows quickly, adds some variety to our garden/landscaping/neighborhood. Surprised there aren't more of these around here in Central TX (Austin area).

Positive careyana On Mar 28, 2012, careyana from (Carey) Austin, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

This small tree does excellent in my rocky limestone yard. It doesn't like excess rain and looks a bit ragged at present - but is not stopping the buds!

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

Anacacho Orchid Tree Bauhinia lunarioides is Endemic to Texas.

Positive htop On Mar 14, 2006, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

The Anacacho orchid tree is also known as Texas plume (Texasplume) anad Pata de Vaca. A semi-evergreen (in mild winters it retains its leaves) to deciduous tree or shrub, it is hardy to 15F (-9C). It is a primitive angiosperm (thought to be a remnant of prehistoric times) and provides light to medium shade. In Texas, it is is native to the Anacacho Mountains of Kinney County, Texas as well as to a small area along the Devils River. It also inhabits northeastern Mexico (state of Coahuila). Anacacho orchid, in its native habitat, grows on rocky limestone canyons.

Because it is more readily available from specialty nurseries than it used to be, it can be found as a cultivated plant in many central and south Texas landscapes. Anacacho orchid tree does best in full sun to bright shade; however, it is bushier and fuller in full sun. It needs well drained soil and an area without a sprinkler system. If you live in Zone 8a, plant it where it will receive south wall protection and mulch around it just in case an unusually harsh winter occurs. A relatively fast grower and drought resistant once established, it has no serious disease or insect problems. Although deer resistant, it will need to be caged to prevent bark damage from rubbing.

The foliage is interesting, as the leaves are divided into pairs of two oval leaflets which resemble cloven hooves. White or pink (rare), fragrant, orchid-like flowers cover the plant in spring (in Texas, March through May) and sporadically throughout the year especially after a rain. I have seen one specimen near downtown San Antonio, Texas that receives no supplemental water that blooms March through October. However from a distance, the flowers appear to be much smaller in the later months because there may be only one bloom instead of a large crowded cluster of blooms and/or the blooms are smaller.

This is a wonderful lanscape or patio tree which attracts butterflies. Anacacho orchid also attracts honeybees which usually are harmless and do not seem to mind sharing the blooms with humans. It can be used in rock gardens, xeriscapes and wildscapes.


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

Glendale, Arizona
Palm Desert, California
Havana, Florida
Homestead, Florida
Austin, Texas (7 reports)
Belton, Texas
Helotes, Texas
Missouri City, Texas
New Braunfels, Texas
Round Rock, Texas
San Antonio, Texas (2 reports)
Spring Branch, Texas

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