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IUCN: not evaluated
Family: FABACEAE Genus: Bauhinia Species: tomentosa Species Author: L. Vernacular: St. Thomas Tree, Yellow Bauhinia Synonyms: Alvesia tomentosa (L.) Britt. & Rose
Bauhinia tomentosa is a small tree, up to 4m in height with short trunk and branches of irregular shape. The leaves are divided into two lobes, light green in colour and with a leathery texture. When rubbed, the leaves smell like burned rubber. Large, pendulous, bright yellow, hibiscus-like flowers appear from December to March. The bell-shaped yellow flowers have a black marking in the throat and may turn pink-maroon with age.
The fruit are pea like, slender and velvety. They are light green, turning a pale brown with age and are produced from January to June.
A food supplement, called Kachnar is made out of this plant, which is used as a gargle for sore throats, as a paste for skin diseases, or internally as a remedy for diarrhea.
The flowers from this tree, rich in pollen and nectar, attract insects such as butterflies and bees. In turn these insects will attract insect eating birds. Certain birds and the larvae of certain moth species feed on the flowers. This is also a host plant for many butterfly species, with the larvae feeding on the leaves.
The genus name "Bauhinia" honors the herbalist brothers from the 16th century, Johann and Caspar Bauhin. They were identical twin brothers just as the two lobes of the leaves, when folded together, are identical.
We currently have 3 herbarium specimens for Bauhinia tomentosa in our collection. Click on any specimen below to view the herbarium sheet data.