Bauhinia is a genus of more than 200 species of flowering plants in the subfamily Caesalpinioideae of the large flowering plant family Fabaceae, with a pantropical distribution. The genus was named after the Bauhin brothers, Swiss-French botanists.
Many species are widely planted in the tropics as orchid trees, particularly in northern India, Vietnam and southeastern China. In the United States of America, the trees grow in Hawaii, coastal California, Texas, Louisiana, and Florida. Bauhinia × blakeana is the floral emblem of Hong Kong - a stylized orchid tree flower appears on the Hong Kong flag and Hong Kong Airlines uses 'Bauhinia' as its radio callsign in air traffic communication.
Bauhinia is also known as Mountain Ebony, Purple Orchid tree or simply Orchid tree, and 'Kachnar' in India and Pakistan. Bauhinia trees typically reach a height of 6-12 m and their branches spread 3-6 m outwards. The lobed leaves usually are 10-15 cm across.
The five-petaled flowers are 7.5-12.5 cm diameter, generally in shades of red, pink, purple, orange, or yellow, and are often fragrant. The tree begins flowering in late winter and often continues to flower into early summer. Depending on the species, Bauhinia flowers are usually in magenta, mauve, pink or white hues with crimson highlights.