Bauhinia Species, Butterfly Orchid Tree, Pom Pom Orchid Tree

Bauhinia divaricata

Family: Fabaceae (fab-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Bauhinia (baw-HIN-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: divaricata (dy-vair-ih-KAY-tuh) (Info)
Synonym:Bauhinia mexicana




Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade



This plant is resistant to deer

Foliage Color:



10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)

12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)


15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

20-30 ft. (6-9 m)


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:

Can be grown as an annual


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

White/Near White

Bloom Characteristics:

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

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Summer

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From seed; germinate in a damp paper towel

Seed Collecting:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored


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

Phoenix, Arizona

Tucson, Arizona

Spring Valley, California

Homestead, Florida

Camilla, Georgia

Lake Charles, Louisiana

Austin, Texas

Gregory, Texas

Houston, Texas(2 reports)

La Porte, Texas

Missouri City, Texas

New Braunfels, Texas(2 reports)

Richards, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

Spring, Texas(2 reports)

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Gardeners' Notes:


On Sep 17, 2020, RayB53 from Houston, TX wrote:

I live in Houston, TX. Mine has grown to approx. 10ft tall and 12 wide. It is covered with hundreds of 2 white/pink bloom from spring to winter. I rarely have to water it, even in clay soil. The swallowtails, gulf fritillaries, monarchs, and several other butterflies love it and circle it most all day in the summer. The hummingbirds also love it. It has frozen almost to the ground a couple times but always comes back bigger and better. It is my favorite plant in my yard.


On May 23, 2020, Cocobalanga from Viviers,
France (Zone 8a) wrote:

I grow 2 forms: one is pure white and the second pink and white. They are very free flowering all summer but needs some shelter from harsh frost


On Sep 25, 2017, DaniHotep from Dana Point, CA wrote: disappointing, to learn that the flowers of B. divaricata are "tiny"! I keep hoping I will find the variety of B. that I once had, and this one is so beautiful that I thought it might make a substitute if I fail to come up with the one I loved...


On Oct 16, 2013, clkr from Round Top, TX wrote:

highly attractive to butterflies, humming birds. often called Pata de Chivo (goat's foot) because the leaf is the shape of a goat foot print. Another orchid tree that grows much taller is often called Pata de Vaca (cow's foot) as its leaf is the shape of a cow footprint.


On Feb 16, 2013, TrumpetFlowerz from Ft Myers, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

Bauhinia davricata grows at a medium pace, does like fertilizer,
and eventually reaches a large size of 30 or more feet. The trunk is grayish, deeply grooved and supports lichens in many cases. The branches knarl and corkscrew in some cases, giving it a very unusual appearance. It will grow vine-like if it is not trained,
and will need some support the first few years of it's life in order to attain a standard shape. The tiny flowers are mixed purple with white, whisp-like and fanning outwards. After flowers die, small bean pods follow. They will turn brown and dry when ripe, only then can you pick the pods for removal of seeds. The leaves are deeply forked, and have the familiar appearance that ascertains all bauhinia, the cow hoof shape.


On Nov 16, 2012, Seafairy from Richards, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

Growing on my land in zone 8B in the Sam Houston National Forest. Somewhat sheltered close to stucco walls for heat once the sun sets. Moved it from another house and planted it here. Slow to start, but now growing and bloomimg vigourously! Excited to attempt propagation.