Bauhinia Species, Butterfly Flower, Napoleon's Plume, Orchid Tree, Pink Bauhinia

Bauhinia monandra

Family: Fabaceae (fab-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Bauhinia (baw-HIN-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: monandra (mon-AN-druh) (Info)
Synonym:Bauhinia kappleri
Synonym:Bauhinia krugii
Synonym:Bauhinia porosa
Synonym:Bauhinia punctiflora



Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade




Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


20-30 ft. (6-9 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


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:


Magenta (pink-purple)

Pale Yellow

White/Near White

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Winter/Early Spring

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From woody stem cuttings

From softwood cuttings

From semi-hardwood cuttings

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

From seed; germinate in a damp paper towel

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible


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

Dana Point, California

San Diego, California

Santa Ana, California

Cape Coral, Florida

Daytona Beach, Florida

Deland, Florida

Dunnellon, Florida

Fountain, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida

Lehigh Acres, Florida

Orange Lake, Florida

Vero Beach, Florida

Winter Haven, Florida

Hilo, Hawaii

Lafayette, Louisiana

Alice, Texas

Cypress, Texas

Missouri City, Texas(2 reports)

Rockport, Texas

Hazel Dell North, Washington

Lake Shore, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Feb 13, 2019, AFinSD from San Diego, CA wrote:

My spouse and I have seen this tree in various places in southern California, inlcluding San Diego. In fact, there's one right down the street from where we presently live.

In Balboa Park, we have seen the common pink flower form and a solid white form as well.

At South Coast Botanic Garden in Rancho Palos Verdes, there is vining form near the front entrance.

All forms have beautiful flowers!


On Sep 25, 2017, chervey from San Miguel de Allende,
Mexico wrote:

I have an 'orchid' tree in my garden that is over 40ft tall; multiple trunks begin about 15' above ground. I have never had problems with it 'bushing', sending up sprouts around the main trunk. It has not taken over my garden. Flowers are deep raspberry-pink.
The tree provides wonderful, lacy shade, and hummingbirds love it. The seed pods are not 'bean-shaped' but more like a double- sided lady's fan. Many of these are used in jewelry.
I could not have a garden without an orchid tree.
I live in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.


On Sep 25, 2017, c_etude from Winter Haven, FL wrote:

Do *not* plant orchid trees in your yard--they can be invasive. However, I have one growing in a tiny container which is about 15 years old and about a foot and a half high. This plant seems indestructible but is a delightful bonsai tree. I trim the roots about every 5 years or so.


On Sep 24, 2014, LaurainHawaii from Hilo, HI (Zone 11) wrote:

I know that the net says that they do not transplant well, but I just transplanted one 12 feet high that had been growing in a 15 gal pot for years and had rooted through the drain holes. The drain hole roots broke off so when I moved it, so when I put it in the ground it had very few roots at all. I removed all the leaves except for a few at the tips, pruned about 1/4 to 1/3 of it off, and now 2 weeks later it never lost its flowering tips or the few leaves I left and is starting to sprout. and this was in 85-90 degree weather...


On Oct 11, 2012, DaniHotep from Dana Point, CA wrote:

I grew a specimen for 8.5 years, from 12 in high in its 1-gal container, to approx 12 feet at the time we moved. It was of just one, light lavender shade rather than the red-streaked variety I see these days. I pruned it back about half-way after it was finished blooming, causing thicker growth and much better blooms the next year and preventing the straggly growth that it seems to have otherwise--note the street-tree use of them in SoCal: If they are not pruned as I say, they are not as attractive. Please let me know if you know of somewhere to obtain that same variety; I'd love to grow them again!


On Oct 10, 2012, nonipuppy from Orange Lake, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

I live just S of Gainesville and put in one of these about 10 yrs ago. It was about 4' single stalk tree. We put it in the yard where there was plenty of room. It grew quick, it would send up shoots from the ground that we kept trimmed. When it was about 10' and rather full it bloomed around Jan-Feb. The following yr we got a freeze and it died back. In the spring it sent up a bunch of shoots that grew long and quick. We tried to keep it trimmed more like a tree because it was just getting out of hand. That winter it froze before it bloomed and we cut it back again. By this time we had a 'stump' 2ft across with multiple trunks coming up. We tried to dig it up because mowing around this mound was impossible but the roots made that impossible. It took about 3-4 yr for that area to... read more


On Oct 8, 2012, GaGaMiMi from Fremont, CA wrote:

Does this Orchid tree have a scent?


On Oct 8, 2012, mitzi56 from Dunnellon, FL wrote:

i was given this tree around a year ago, but i live in zone 9b to 10 so it had died back one year so i cut it down to almost ground level and its come back, now im awaiting to see if it blooms. it is october now and im hoping by nov-dec it will flower for me. do you water these freuently during the winter> will this tree flower again since it almost died off?


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

Orchid Tree Bauhinia monandra is Naturalized in Texas and other States.


On Aug 13, 2005, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have not grown this tree. Other common names for this plant are Napoleon's plume, pink orchid tree, butterfly flower and poor man's orchid. It is a shrub or small tree, native of Asia (Burma), that has been planted and has escaped or naturalized itself throughout the West Indies from Cuba and Jamaica to Barbados and Trinidad. It has been planted as an ornamental in Puerto Rico, but can be found naturalized in thickets, along roadsides as well as river banks in the coastal, limestone and lower mountain regions. After being cultivated in southern Florida and deep south Texas, it is a naturalized plant in these states as well. The species name 'monandra' refers to the fact that only a single stamen produces pollen, which distinguishes this species from other similar members of the genus. <... read more