Snowy orchid tree (Bauhinia acuminate): Classification, Geographical Distribution, Characteristics, Chemical Constituent, and Traditional Uses

Snowy orchid tree (Bauhinia acuminate): Classification, Geographical Distribution, Characteristics, Chemical Constituent, and Traditional Uses


More than 300 species are represented by the gene Bauhinia, one of the largest genera in the caesalpiniaceae subfamily. In many mild temperate and sub-tropical regions, Bauhinia has been widely planted as an ornamental tree for gardens, parks, and roadside settings. Another name for bauhinia is mountain ebony. The new Latin word “Bauhin” is the source of the phrase “Bauhinia.” Bauhinia is also known as the “dwarf white orchid tree.” The Bauhin brothers inspired the gene’s naming. Swiss-French botanists Jean and Gaspard Bauhin (1541–1612) (1560 – 1624).

There are numerous species, cultivars, and varieties available. Due to its lack of seeds, Bauhinia acuminata L. would not cause this issue with litter. It is the most spectacular and wanted species of Bauhinia, having six-inch, orchid-like blossoms of a deep reddish rose purple during the winter but being extremely sensitive to freezing conditions.


Kingdom: Plantae

Order: Fabales

Family: Fabaceae

Genus: Bauhinia

Species: B.acuminata

Botanical name: Bahunia acuminata

Common Name: Safed Kachnar, Dwarf white bauhinia, White orchid tree, and Snowy orchid-tree

Native: Asia

Geographical Distribution

It is commonly grown as an ornamental plant across the tropics. On the Cape York Peninsula in Australia, it has grown naturalized and is sometimes discovered escaping cultivation. Numerous deciduous woodlands and scrub are home to this species.

Morphology Characteristics

It reaches heights of two to three metres. The petiole is 1.5 to 4 centimeters long, and the leaves are bilobed and shaped like an ox hoof. They are 6 to 15 centimeters long and wide, with an apical cleft that can be up to 5 centimeters deep. The fragrant flowers have a diameter of 8 to 12 centimeters, five white petals, ten yellow stamens with yellow tips, and a green stigma. A pod that is 1.5 to 1.8 centimeters wide and 7.5 to 15 centimeters long makes up the fruit. The species lives in scrub and deciduous woodlands. As a decorative plant, it is widely planted across the tropics.

It is a 3 m tall cultivar shrub with scanty, curled pubescence on the young stems, petioles, and inflorescence axes. Stipules are lance-shaped, linear, 5–12 mm long, acuminate, curled, puberulent, and caducous; the largest collector is swelling, divergent, and ranges in length from 1.5–2.1 mm. Petioles are 1.5 to 4 cm long; the leaf blades are ovate, broadly ovate, or suborbicular, 5.4 to 11.3(20)x3.7-11.3 cm, divided along about one-third of their length, membranous, glabrous on the adaxial side, and densely pubescent on the abaxial side, with a cordate to rounded base and an acute lobe tip. Axillary racemes with an inflorescence that is 2.5–5.8 cm long, with insignificant peduncles, lance–linear bracts, and bracteoles that are 3–9 mm long, puberulent, especially on the margins, and caducous. Flowers with a pedicel 6 to 12 mm long; hypanthium 5 to 9 mm long; calyx limb spathaceous, 28 to 37 mm long, with few dispersed hairs abaxially, and an apex of 5 spiery lobes 1.7 to 4.1 mm long; petals not clawed, elliptic to oblanceolate, 39 to 40 (60) x 20 to 25 (30) mm, glabrous, white; Fertil Brown, glabrous, linear leguminous fruits with seeds that are suborbicular and about 10 mm in diameter. In addition to thriving in any well-drained soil, Bauhinia grows best in direct sunlight or high, shifting pine shadow. However, alkaline soils and nutritional deficiencies can result in interveinal chlorosis (yellowing) on the leaves. The wood tends to be weak, and sprouts are frequently observed emerging from the tree’s base, giving it an untidy appearance. Additionally, because they are huge and disintegrate slowly, the falling leaves are messy. Borers and chewing insects may be present, which might cause issues for Bauhinia. due to overwatering, which might cause the foliage to become yellow.

LEAF: The leaves are bilobed, with an apical cleft and a form resembling an ox or cow hoof.

Flowers: Five white petals, ten yellow-tipped stamens, and a green stigma make up the fragrant flowers.

Fruit: Fruit is a pod that is between 7.5 and 15 cm in length and 1.5 and 1.8 cm wide.

Chemical Constituent

In Bauhinia acuminata, chemical components included vitamin C (found in the leaves), beta-sitosterol, lupeol, kampferol, 3, 5, 7-dehydroxy- and 5, 7-dimethoxy-flavonoids, and 4-O-alpha-L-rhamnopyranosyl-beta-D-glucopyranosides. Flavonoids in Bauhinia acuminata demonstrated the presence of apigenin, quercetin, and kamepferol. Both species included apigenin, quercetin, and kamepfrol. Bauhinia acuminata and Cassia oocidentailis both contain derivatives of quercetin, specifically quercetin-3 glycoside and quercetin-7 glycoside.

The leaves of Bauhinia acuminate were used to identify several chemical compounds, including palmitic acid, three phthalic acid esters, phthalic acid, gallic acid, and ursolic acid. The leaves and stems of Bauhinia acuminata contained carbohydrates, phenolic compounds, saponins, flavonoids, oils, and lipids, according to phytochemical analysis. Their phenolic components play a major role in their possible antioxidant activity. The plant’s raw protein content is 23%, the raw fibre is 20.8%, raw fat is 24.9%, and raw carbs are 48%. The phytochemical research revealed that different plant parts contain several chemical groups, including alkaloids, anthocyanins, phenolics, proteins, phlobatannins, steroids, tannins, flavonoids, anthraquinones, saponins, terpenoids, resins, and balsams.

Traditional Uses

1. A species of blooming shrub called Acuminata is indigenous to Southeast Asia’s tropical regions. The Bauhinia acuminata’s bark, flower, and root are used to treat diabetes, worms, and a variety of skin conditions.

2. The Indian vaiydas advocate using Bauhinia acuminate’s bark and leave as a treatment for biliousness.

3. The plant is employed in Malaysia and Indonesia to treat coughs and colds.

4. The leaves and bark of this plant are used to cure asthma in India. Additionally, leprosy, asthma, digestive disorders, bladder stones, and sexual illnesses are all treated with the leaf of Bauhinia acuminata. Although several plant parts were said to have beneficial medical effects.

 5. The bark, leaves, stem, flowers, and roots of this plant, among other parts, have all been utilized in traditional medicine.

6. Leaf paste was applied externally to wounds, sores, itches, cutaneous disease, bone fracture, fever, ringworm, skin disease, throat infection, and to treat painful eyes.

7. Leaves were also used orally to treat scabies, a skin condition. Many well-known herbal liver tonics and medications for liver problems had leaves or roots as a component. Additionally, it is used to treat rheumatism, oedema, fever, inflammation, and bug, snake, and scorpion bites.

8. Its seeds, flowers, leaves, and roots have all been used as laxatives and purgatives.

9. The herb was also used to treat chicken pox, guinea worms, and black quarter as well as being a febrifuge, vermifuge, and anticonvalsant.

Growing season and Type

1. Bauhinia acuminata is a beautiful little tree for tiny yards, growing to a height of around 6′.

2. It blooms with snowflake-like white flowers that hang from the branches. Another name for it is Snowy Orchid Tree. The leaves, like those of the other orchid trees, have an intriguing ox-hoof form.

3. Bauhinia is not very attractive in the cold. It will lose a lot of leaves as the weather gets colder but will resprout as the weather becomes warmer. As long as the weather is warm, it will bloom.

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