Bauhinia Species, St. Thomas' Tree, Yellow Bauhinia, Yellow Bell Orchid Tree, Yellow Butterfly Tree

Bauhinia tomentosa

Family: Fabaceae (fab-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Bauhinia (baw-HIN-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: tomentosa (toh-men-TOH-suh) (Info)
Synonym:Alvesia tomentosa
Synonym:Bauhinia volkensii



Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade


Grown for foliage


Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)


Unknown - Tell us


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)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Seed is poisonous if ingested

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Pollen may cause allergic reaction

Bloom Color:

Bright Yellow

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:

Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:

From hardwood cuttings

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

Seed Collecting:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Chuichu, Arizona

Vista, California(9 reports)

Bradley, Florida

Fort Lauderdale, Florida(2 reports)

Fort Myers, Florida

Fort Pierce, Florida

Gainesville, Florida

Homestead, Florida

Melbourne, Florida

Oscar, Louisiana

Saint Joseph, Missouri

Cedar Creek, Texas

La Porte, Texas

Missouri City, Texas

Spring, Texas

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Gardeners' Notes:


On Sep 26, 2014, DavidLMo from St Joseph, MO wrote:

Growing this and 5 other Bauhinia here in Zone 5 b in greenhouse for bonsai. :-) Shows promise but I have found that none of them backbud worth a hoot. :-(.


On Oct 15, 2012, Aravintraj from Srivilliputtur,
India wrote:

I had seeds for this tree
[email protected]


On Sep 9, 2012, KanapahaLEW from Alachua, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

I planted this Bauhinia last year in my Alachua FL/z8b garden. Soil is sandy, relatively infertile with pH around 5.6. I routinely add slow-release 13-2-13 (with minors) and pelleted dolomite. It gets about 1/2 to 2/3 sun. The top died to the ground during a 19F-degree freeze. It came back this year from the roots, growing into a vase-shaped arching shrub, about 6' wide by 4' high. First flowers have just appeared (early Sept.).


On Nov 1, 2007, Zackery from Fort Myers, FL wrote:

I planted the Bell Orchid appx. 3 years ago and it is one of the most beautiful trees I have ever seen. I am concerned however about the root system. In the last six months the tree has really taken hold and is filling out becoming much larger than I had expected. The tree is appx. twenty feet from our pool and I would like to know if the roots can reach, and possibly damage the concrete pool. If so if you could someone please advise me on the safest way to go about moving the tree?


On Jul 19, 2006, aprilwillis from Missouri City, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

Beautiful, tolerant and vigorous grower!


On Jan 12, 2005, rojohn from Mount Dora, FL wrote:

I planted this lovely blooming tree in December '04 in a spot receiving 3/4 day sun but exposed to the north here in zone 9B. We had a cold rainy spell with windchills in the 20's which really set this plant back. Almost all the leaves turned brown around the edges. I dug it up, planted it in a big pot, trimmed the branches back and brought it into the lanai where it will get full sun and be protected from the north. I have high hopes for a recovery.


On Nov 22, 2003, MollyMc from Archer/Bronson, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

This tree has provided blooms almost daily since I planted mine on 8/2/03. It now has seed pods which I'm looking forwarding to taking advantange of. It's said to be a small tree, which is exactly what i was looking for, probably no more than 15 feet tall.

Alas, I had to move last fall and couldn't bring the tree with me, but brought the seeds. In March I planted 21 seeds and had 100% germination. Still in zone 10b