Red orange Bauhinia's black pollen-covered stamen stand in powerful contrast
I was on the way to my car as I was leaving Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden when my eye caught a glimpse of this red orange beauty! I could tell it was a Bauhinia by the flower, especially the shape of the filament and stamens though I had never seen one this color or with bright black pollen. I love looking from the delicate ruffly edges of the petals into the shadowy intersection of its smooth bright orange filaments. Breathtaking!
Bauhinia galpinii is unlike most other members of the genus. This one is a large sprawling large shrub that rarely grows to more than 10 feet tall. The width will be larger than the height. It has a long flowering period, ranging from late spring through mid-autumn.
The coral-red flowers appear in clusters on new growth and are very attractive to hummingbirds and butterflies, especially Swallowtails and Gulf Fritillaries. As the 3-inch blooms age, they fade to a salmon color. Occasionally, pollinated flowers form a flat, dry seed pod.
Typical of the Bauhinia genus, the leaves are two-lobed. If planted next to other trees, the new growth becomes vine-like and spirals upward around erect twigs. Because of this, they can be trained on trellises or arbors.
This species is native to South Africa and flowering will be best if the plant receives sun at least half of the day. It is drought-tolerant once established.
Bauhinia galpinii, Red Orchid Bush, African Plume