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Bauhinia tomentosa

   (Family: Fabaceae)
Afrikaans: Bosbeesklou, Geelbeesklou English: Yellow Bauhinia  EDIT
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Plant Type: EDIT  Shrub
Height: 1 - 4m
Special properties:
  Drought Resistant (heavy)
  Frost Tolerant (light)
  Has Medicinal Uses
Rarity Status:
Preferred rainfall: Summer
Preferred position:
Full Sun
Tolerated soil:  
  Clay (fine texture, holds a lot of water),
Sand (coarse texture, drains easily)
Flowering time EDIT
x x x                 x
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Flower colours
Flower shape
Flower type
  Various insects such as butterflies and bees
  Flower info
  Bell-shaped, up to 7 cm long, bright yellow flowers with a black to deep maroon coloured centre.
Leaf shape EDIT
Leaf margin
Leaf texture Smooth
Bark / Stem type
  Leaf info EDIT
  Partially Evergreen
  Leaves are divided into two lobes, light green in colour, with a leathery texture, carried on branches that are often drooping. Each lobe is oval to almost elliptic, most often small about 2.5 x 2.5 cm, but may be up to 8 cm, pale fresh green; apex of each lobe broadly tapering; base of the whole leaf shallowly lobed; margin entire, petiolate; leaf stalk 10 to 30 mm long.
Fruit type EDIT
Fruit colour
Sow seeds in Spring
Seed colour
  Seed size Length: 5mm   Width: 3mm
  Seed info EDIT
  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 or even later. Seeds 7-8.5 x 5.5-7 x 2-3 mm, ovate, compressed, glossy, reddish brown, somewhat rugose to nearly smooth, with V-shaped marginal hilum, often bearing an apical, hook-shaped funicular remnant.
Description EDIT
Bauhinia tomentosa is usually a scrambling, many-stemmed shrub or small tree reaching 4 m (max. 8) in height, the branches often drooping, with many slender twigs.

Flowers bell-shaped, up to 7 cm long, beautiful and distinctive, pendulous, solitary, with large, lemon-yellow petals, 1-3 of which have a dark maroon patch at the base and turning a veined reddish brown with age.
Growing EDIT
The adult plants can tolerate a moderate amount of frost, but the seedlings and younger plants should be shielded from frost. It prefers full sun and needs a moderate amount of water.

It can be propagated from seed and grows relatively fast. Plant it singly or in groups. It is suitable for rockeries, shrub borders, and large containers, on patios or next to swimming pools.

The soil needs to be well drained with compost added to enrich it. A covering of mulch over the soil is a good idea, replenishing the layer as regularly as possible.
Distribution EDIT
Found along the coastal strip from southern Kwazulu-Natal to Maputoland, Mpumalanga as well as Mozambique, Zimbabwe, tropical Africa and as far as India and Sri Lanka . It is found in woodland, riverine bush and coastal dune bush.
History EDIT
The genus name " Bauhinia " honours herbalist brothers from the 16 th century, Johann and Caspar Bauhin. They were identical twin brothers, making it a very apt name as the two lobes of the leaves, when folded together, are identical.

Tomentosa is derived from tomentose, meaning with dense, interwoven hairs, referring to the pods.
Not much is known about the specific medicinal or cultural uses, although it is said to be used widely medicinally.
Ecology EDIT
The flowers from this tree, rich in pollen and nectar, attract various 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.
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