Hong Kong Orchid Trees and
Hong Kong Orchid Tree
There is an abundance of Hong Kong orchid trees
(Bauhinia blakeana) and orchid trees (Bauhinia) on campus. The
two are very similar both being Caesalpiniaceae and both having
heart-shaped leaves. It is difficult to tell them apart when they
are not flowering. They exist side by side on the slope leading
to the Institute of Chinese Studies and in Cultural Square outside
the Benjamin Franklin Centre. There are also quite a few flanking
the University Mall. How can we identify them without looking
at the labels on the tree trunks? The Hong Kong orchid tree is
infertile; it does not produce seeds and has to be propagated
by grafting and other methods. The orchid tree bears dark flattened
pods, so trees with pods are likely to be bauhinia while those
without are bauhinia blakeana. Their flowers are also very different.
The Hong Kong orchid tree blooms from November to March and has
bigger flowers, which are pinkish purple in colour. The orchid
tree is also known as camel¡¦s foot and has a variety of species.
Those grown on campus are the red bauhinia (bauhinia purpura),
white bauhinia (bauhinia variegate L.) and pure-white bauhinia
(bauhinia variegate L. Var. candida).
Extracted from ¡¥CUHK Campus ¡V Trees on Campus¡¦, Chinese University
Bulletin Spring/Autumn 2005