Overview

Brief Summary

Overview

The orchid tree is a medium-sized tree (1,5,7) native to a variety of habitats in South Asia, Southeast Asia, southern China, and Japan (1,2,5,7,8). Admired for its large, fragrant, and beautiful purple, pink, lavender, red, or blue orchid-like flowers(3,5,7), the orchid tree is also special for its extraordinary seed dispersal ability: it ejects its own seeds as far as 15 meters (49 feet) away from the tree, a possible record (6). Throughout history, this unusual tree has been particularly valuable to people for medicinal purposes. In countries such as India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, various parts of the orchid tree (including the bark, roots, and flowers) have been and continue to be used in traditional medicine as treatments for many ailments, such as ulcers, wounds, swollen glands, and stomach tumors(5,8). Ongoing research into the chemical components and medicinal properties of the plant suggests that the orchid tree contains a host of chemicals with, among other benefits, antioxidant, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and even cancer-fighting effects (5,8). The fruit(1,2,5), seeds (2,5), leaves(1), flowers(1), and flower buds(1) of the orchid tree are also used as a food source in some cultures, and the seeds have been to shown to have significant nutritional value(2). In addition, among some other economic uses of the plant (1,7), in places such as Nepal the leaves of the orchid tree are used as fodder for domestic animals like sheep, cattle, goats, and buffalo(1,4,5,7).

  • 1. “Bauhinia purpurea.” Flora of Pakistan. eFlora.org. 5 Jul. 2011. http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=5&taxon_id=200011953
  • 2. Bhat, Rajeev and A. A. Karim. “Exploring the Nutritional Potential of Wild and Underutilized Legumes.” Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety 8.4 (2009): 305-331.
  • 3. Gilman, Edward F. and Dennis G. Watson. “Bauhinia purpurea: Purple Orchid-Tree.” 2009. 5 Jul. 2011. Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/st090
  • 4. Khanal, R. C. and D. B. Subba. “Nutritional Evaluation of Leaves from Some Major Fodder Trees Cultivated in the Hills of Nepal.” Animal Feed Science and Technology 92.1-2 (2001): 17-32.
  • 5. Kumar, T. and K. S. Chandrashekar. Bauhinia purpurea Linn.: A Review of its Ethnobotany, Phytochemical and Pharmacological Profile.” Research Journal of Medicinal Plant 5.4 (2011): 420-431.
  • 6. Meeuse, Baastian J. D. “Seed and Fruit.” Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 2011. 3 Aug. 2011. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/532368/seed-and-fruit/75912/Fruits?anchor=ref606850
  • 7. Orwa, C., A. Mutua, R. Kindt, R. Jamnadass, and S. Anthony. “Bauhinia purpurea.” Agroforestry Database: A Tree Reference and Selection Guide, Version 4.0. Kenya: World Agroforestry Centre, 2009. 2 Sept. 2011. http://www.worldagroforestry.org/treedb2/AFTPDFS/Bauhinia_purpurea.pdf
  • 8. Zakaria, Z. A., M. S. Rofiee, L. K. Teh, M. Z. Salleh, M. R. Sulaiman and M. N. Somchit. “Bauhinia purpurea Leaves’ Extracts Exhibited In Vitro Antiproliferative and Antioxidant Activities.” African Journal of Biotechnology 10.1 (2011): 65-74.
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Introduction

The orchid tree is a medium-sized tree(1,5,7) native to many different habitats in South Asia, Southeast Asia, southern China, and Japan(1,2,5,7,8). Admired for its large, fragrant, and beautiful purple, pink, lavender, red, or blue orchid-like flowers(3,5,7), the orchid tree is also special because of an amazing talent. Like some other plants, it spreads its seeds by shooting them away from itself, and it may hold the record for best seed-thrower: it can propel its seeds as far as 15 meters (49 feet) away(6)! Aside from these special characteristics, the orchid tree has been valuable to people throughout history as a source of medicines. In countries such as India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, parts of the orchid tree (including the bark, roots, and flowers) are used in traditional treatments for a wide variety of health problems from wounds to stomach cancer (5,8). Scientists who have studied the chemistry of the orchid tree to try to discover what gives the plant its medicinal properties have shown that it contains many chemicals that act in beneficial ways on the body; these include chemicals that reduce pain, chemicals that fight certain bacterial infections, healthy chemicals called antioxidants, and even chemicals with cancer-fighting effects (5,8). In addition to being used as medicine, though, the orchid tree is an important source of food and other products(1,2,5,7). In some cultures, people eat the fruit(1,2,5), seeds(2,5), leaves(1), flowers(1), and flower buds(1) of the tree, and in places such as Nepal, the leaves make healthy meals for domestic animals like sheep, cattle, goats, and buffalo(1,4,5,7).

  • 1. “Bauhinia purpurea.” Flora of Pakistan. eFlora.org. 5 Jul. 2011. http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=5&taxon_id=200011953
  • 2. Bhat, Rajeev and A. A. Karim. “Exploring the Nutritional Potential of Wild and Underutilized Legumes.” Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety 8.4 (2009): 305-331.
  • 3. Gilman, Edward F. and Dennis G. Watson. “Bauhinia purpurea: Purple Orchid-Tree.” 2009. 5 Jul. 2011. Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/st090
  • 4. Khanal, R. C. and D. B. Subba. “Nutritional Evaluation of Leaves from Some Major Fodder Trees Cultivated in the Hills of Nepal.” Animal Feed Science and Technology 92.1-2 (2001): 17-32.
  • 5. Kumar, T. and K. S. Chandrashekar. Bauhinia purpurea Linn.: A Review of its Ethnobotany, Phytochemical and Pharmacological Profile.” Research Journal of Medicinal Plant 5.4 (2011): 420-431.
  • 6. Meeuse, Baastian J. D. “Seed and Fruit.” Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 2011. 3 Aug. 2011. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/532368/seed-and-fruit/75912/Fruits?anchor=ref606850
  • 7. Orwa, C., A. Mutua, R. Kindt, R. Jamnadass, and S. Anthony. “Bauhinia purpurea.” Agroforestry Database: A Tree Reference and Selection Guide, Version 4.0. Kenya: World Agroforestry Centre, 2009. 2 Sept. 2011. http://www.worldagroforestry.org/treedb2/AFTPDFS/Bauhinia_purpurea.pdf
  • 8. Zakaria, Z. A., M. S. Rofiee, L. K. Teh, M. Z. Salleh, M. R. Sulaiman and M. N. Somchit. “Bauhinia purpurea Leaves’ Extracts Exhibited In Vitro Antiproliferative and Antioxidant Activities.” African Journal of Biotechnology 10.1 (2011): 65-74.
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Comprehensive Description

Miscellaneous Details

"Notes: Western Ghats & Eastern Ghats, Dry Deciduous Forests, often Cultivated"
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Distribution

National Distribution

United States

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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Range Description

Bauhinia purpurea is native to south China and southeastern Asia and has also been introduced to north and central America, Africa and Australia.
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"Maharashtra: Kolhapur Karnataka: Chikmagalur, Mysore, Shimoga Kerala: Alapuzha, Kollam, Kozhikode, Malapuram, Palakkad, Pathanamthitta Tamil Nadu: All districts"
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Distribution: W. Pakistan (N.W.F. Province, Punjab); India (Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Central India, Bombay, Madras, Bengal, Assam) Sikkim; Ceylon; Burma; South East Asia; China.
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Tropical Himalaya (Kashmir to Bhutan), India, S.E. Asia, S. & W. China, and cultivated widely in tropics.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Physical Description

Perennial, Trees, Woody throughout, Stems erect or ascending, Stems greater than 2 m tall, Stems solid, Stems or young twigs sparsely to densely hairy, Leaves alternate, Leaves petiolate, Stipules conspicuous, Stipules green, triangulate to lanceolate or foliaceous, Stipules deciduous, Stipules free, Leaves simple, or appearing so, Leaf or leaflet margins entire, Leaflets lobed or hastate, Leaflets 1, Leaves glabrous or nearly so, Leaves hairy on one or both surfaces, Inflorescences racemes, Inflorescence axillary, Inflorescence terminal, Bracts conspicuously present, Bracteoles present, Flowers actinomorphic or somewhat irregular, Calyx 5-lobed, Calyx hairy, Petals separate, Petals clawed, Petals red, Petals blue, lavander to purple, or violet, Banner petal narrow or oblanceolate, Wing petals narrow, oblanceolate to oblong, Stamens 9-10, Fertile stamens 2-3, Stamens completely free, separate, Filaments glabrous, Style terete, Fruit a legume, Fruit stipitate, Fruit unilocular, Fruit freely dehiscent, Fruit elongate, straight, Fruit oblong or ellipsoidal, Fruit coriaceous or becoming woody, Fruit exserted from calyx, Fruit glabrous or glabrate, Fruit hairy, Fruit 3-10 seeded, Seeds ovoid to rounded in outline, Seed surface smooth, Seeds olive, brown, or black.
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Description

A medium sized tree with ashy to dark brown bark, young parts pubescent. Leaves petiolate, petiole 2.5-5 cm long, lamina 7.0-18 cm long, rather longer than broad, 9-11 nerved, cleft about halfway down into 2 acute or rounded lobes, minutely pubescent below when young. Inflorescence few flowered panicles at the ends of the branches. Flowers pedicellate, pedicel c. 5-13 mm long; tomentose, bract c. 3 mm long, bracteole c. 2 mm long. Hypanthium 7-10 mm long. Calyx c. 2.5-3.0 cm long, usually splitting into two reflexed segments, one emarginate the other 3 toothed. Petals 3.7-5 cm long, oblanceolate, long clawed, spreading, veined. Stamens usually 3 fertile, others reduced to antherless filaments. Ovary downy, long stalked; style long, stigma oblique. Pod 15-25 cm long, c. 1.5-2 cm broad; stalk c. 2 cm long. Seeds 12-15, almost round, c. 1.2-1.3 cm in diameter, brown, smooth.
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Elevation Range

300-1600 m
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Diagnostic Description

Diagnostic

Habit: Moderate sized tree
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Type Information

Isoneotype for Bauhinia purpurea L.
Catalog Number: US 874783
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Original publication and alleged type specimen examined; Original publication and alleged type specimen examined
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): E. D. Merrill
Year Collected: 1916
Locality: Manila, Luzon, Philippines, Asia-Tropical
  • Isoneotype: Wit, H. C. de. 1956. Reinwardtia. 3: 406.; Linnaeus, C. 1753. Sp. Pl. 375.; : Wit, H. C. de. 1956. Reinwardtia. 3: 406.; Linnaeus, C. 1753. Sp. Pl. 375.
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
B. purpurea is a small to medium-sized deciduous fast growing shub or tree which grows in tropical and subtropical climates usually found in most types of vegetation ranging from evergreen lowland rain forest to mountain forest and savanna, scrub and dry deciduous forest to swamp forest on various soils.

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Flower/Fruit

Fl. Per.: Sept-Nov.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Bauhinia purpurea

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Bauhinia purpurea

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 2
Specimens with Barcodes: 6
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: GNR - Not Yet Ranked

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IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2012

Assessor/s
Contu, S.

Reviewer/s
Hilton-Taylor, C.

Contributor/s

Justification
B. purpurea has a wide natural distribution range and has been introduced worldwide. At present there are no major known threats to this species and the population is believed to be stable, hence it is rated as Least Concern.
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Population

Population
The species is widespread and common in its natural range.

Population Trend
Stable
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Threats

Major Threats
There are no major known threats to the species at present.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
There are no known conservation measures specifically for B. purpurea, but the species is currently known to occur in some protected areas. Samples of seed of B. purpurea should be collected and stored as an ex situ conservation measure.
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Wikipedia

Bauhinia purpurea

Not to be confused with Hong Kong Orchid tree, Bauhinia blakeana.

Phanera purpurea is a species of flowering plant in the family Fabaceae, native to South China (which includes Hong Kong) and Southeast Asia. Common names include orchid tree,[4] Hong Kong orchid tree,[citation needed] purple bauhinia,[4] camel's foot,[4] butterfly tree,[4] and Hawaiian orchid tree.[citation needed]

Description[edit]

Phanera purpurea flower (Kaniar) in Hyderabad, India.

Phanera purpurea is a small to medium-size deciduous tree growing to 17 feet (5.2 m) tall. The leaves are 10–20 centimetres (3.9–7.9 in) long and broad, rounded, and bilobed at the base and apex. The flowers are conspicuous, pink, and fragrant, with five petals. The fruit is a pod 30 centimetres (12 in) long, containing 12 to 16 seeds. Leaves are alternate.

Cultivation[edit]

In the United States of America, the tree grows in Hawaii, coastal California, southern Texas, and southwest Florida. Bauhinia blakeana is usually propagated by grafting it onto P. purpurea stems.

Biological activities[edit]

Phanera purpurea may possess antibacterial, antidiabetic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-diarrheal, anticancerous, nephroprotective, and thyroid hormone-regulating activity.[5] Water extracts of the leaves of Phanera purpurea have been shown to have anti-ulcer activity in animals in the 'ethanol-induced gastric ulcer model'.[6] Water extracts did not show any signs of toxicity when given to rats orally at doses up to 5000 mg/kg.

Chemistry[edit]

A wide range of chemical compounds have been isolated from Phanera purpurea including 5,6-dihydroxy-7-methoxyflavone 6-O-β-D-xylopyranoside, bis [3',4'-dihydroxy-6-methoxy-7,8-furano-5',6'-mono-methylalloxy]-5-C-5-biflavonyl and (4'-hydroxy-7-methyl 3-C-α-L-rhamnopyranosyl)-5-C-5-(4'-hydroxy-7-methyl-3-C-α-D-glucopyranosyl) bioflavonoid, bibenzyls, dibenzoxepins, mixture of phytol fatty esters, lutein, β-sitosterol, isoquercitin and astragalin.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sinou C, Forest F, Lewis GP, Bruneau A. (2009). "The genus Bauhinia s.l. (Leguminosae): a phylogeny based on the plastid trnLtrnF region". Botany 87 (10): 947–960. doi:10.1139/B09-065. 
  2. ^ Wunderlin RP. (2010). "Reorganization of the Cercideae (Fabaceae: Caesalpinioideae)". Phytoneuron 48: 1–5. 
  3. ^ "The Plant List: A Working List of All Plant Species". 
  4. ^ a b c d "USDA GRIN Taxonomy". 
  5. ^ a b Kumar T., Chandrashekar K.S. Research (2011). "Bauhinia purpurea Linn.: A review of its ethnobotany, phytochemical and pharmacological profile". Journal of Medicinal Plant 5 (4): 420–431. 
  6. ^ Zakaria, Z. A., E. E. Abdul Hisam, et al. (2011). "In vivo antiulcer activity of the aqueous extract of Bauhinia purpurea leaf". Journal of Ethnopharmacology 137 (2): 1047–1054. 
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Notes

Comments

It is often planted as an ornamental roadside and garden plant. The leaves are used as fodder. The leaves, flower buds, flowers and young pods are eaten as vegetable and the flower buds are often pickled. The plant yields gum and the bark is good as tanning material and for fibre. The wood is used for making agri¬cultural implements and for fuel. The bark, root and flowers are also reputed to have medicinal properties.
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