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Useful Tropical Plants

Bauhinia forficata

Link

Fabaceae

+ Synonyms

Bauhinia candicans Benth.

Common Name: Brazilian Orchid Tree

Bauhinia forficata
Cultivated tree in Ceret Park, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Photograph by: mauroguanandi
Creative Commons License
Bauhinia forficata Bauhinia forficata Bauhinia forficata Bauhinia forficata Bauhinia forficata Bauhinia forficata

General Information

Brazilian orchid tree is a spiny, deciduous or semideciduous tree with an open and irregular crown; it can grow 5 - 9 metres tall. The bole is usually crooked, up to 30 - 40cm in diameter[
419
Title
Brazilian Trees. Volume 1. 4th Edition.
Publication
 
Author
Lorenzi. H.
Publisher
Instituto Plantarum De Estudos Da Flora; Brazil.
Year
2002
ISBN
85-86714-17-8
Description
Information on 350 species of Brazilian trees. Stunning photographs of each species, brief details on the plant, its uses and how to grow it from seed. A superb work, with the minor irritation that the translation from Portuguese is not of the best.
].
The leaves are a very popular tea in S. America, where they are believed to be effective in lowering blood sugar levels and treating diabetes. The plant is also a source of wood, mainly used locally for fuel and charcoal. The tree can be used in reforestation projects and, being very ornamental tree, it widely grown from the subtropics to the tropics, being valued especially for its white floral display and contrast with the intensely green foliage[
419
Title
Brazilian Trees. Volume 1. 4th Edition.
Publication
 
Author
Lorenzi. H.
Publisher
Instituto Plantarum De Estudos Da Flora; Brazil.
Year
2002
ISBN
85-86714-17-8
Description
Information on 350 species of Brazilian trees. Stunning photographs of each species, brief details on the plant, its uses and how to grow it from seed. A superb work, with the minor irritation that the translation from Portuguese is not of the best.
].
The plant is classified as 'Least Concern' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2011)[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References


Range

S. America - Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, southern and eastern Brazil, Bolivia.

Habitat

Atlantic rainforest, most commonly in secondary formations and only occasionally in dense primary forest, favouring the rich moist soils of the alluvial plains[
419
Title
Brazilian Trees. Volume 1. 4th Edition.
Publication
 
Author
Lorenzi. H.
Publisher
Instituto Plantarum De Estudos Da Flora; Brazil.
Year
2002
ISBN
85-86714-17-8
Description
Information on 350 species of Brazilian trees. Stunning photographs of each species, brief details on the plant, its uses and how to grow it from seed. A superb work, with the minor irritation that the translation from Portuguese is not of the best.
].

Properties

Conservation StatusLeast Concern
Medicinal Rating *  *  *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *  *
HabitSemi-deciduous Tree
Height7.50 m
Growth RateFast
PollinatorsInsects
Cultivation StatusOrnamental, Wild

Cultivation Details

Brazilian orchid tree is found from the subtropical to the tropical zones.
Prefers a sunny position[
419
Title
Brazilian Trees. Volume 1. 4th Edition.
Publication
 
Author
Lorenzi. H.
Publisher
Instituto Plantarum De Estudos Da Flora; Brazil.
Year
2002
ISBN
85-86714-17-8
Description
Information on 350 species of Brazilian trees. Stunning photographs of each species, brief details on the plant, its uses and how to grow it from seed. A superb work, with the minor irritation that the translation from Portuguese is not of the best.
]. Succeeds in a range of soils so long as they are well-drained[
309
Title
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://hort.ifas.ufl.edu/shrubs/
Publisher
University of Florida
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
PDF fact sheets on over 500 shrubs.
]. Tolerant of acidic soils[
309
Title
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://hort.ifas.ufl.edu/shrubs/
Publisher
University of Florida
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
PDF fact sheets on over 500 shrubs.
]. Established plants are very drought tolerant[
309
Title
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://hort.ifas.ufl.edu/shrubs/
Publisher
University of Florida
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
PDF fact sheets on over 500 shrubs.
].
A fast-growing young plant, able to reach a height of 3.5 metres within 2 years from seed[
419
Title
Brazilian Trees. Volume 1. 4th Edition.
Publication
 
Author
Lorenzi. H.
Publisher
Instituto Plantarum De Estudos Da Flora; Brazil.
Year
2002
ISBN
85-86714-17-8
Description
Information on 350 species of Brazilian trees. Stunning photographs of each species, brief details on the plant, its uses and how to grow it from seed. A superb work, with the minor irritation that the translation from Portuguese is not of the best.
].
The wood can be rather weak, leading to branches breaking[
309
Title
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://hort.ifas.ufl.edu/shrubs/
Publisher
University of Florida
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
PDF fact sheets on over 500 shrubs.
].
Although many species within the family Fabaceae have a symbiotic relationship with soil bacteria, this species is said to be devoid of such a relationship and therefore does not fix atmospheric nitrogen[
755
Title
Nodulation Plants in GRIN Taxonomy
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.ars-grin.gov/~sbmljw/cgi-bin/taxnodul.pl?language=en
Publisher
United States Department of Agriculture
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An online database listing plants that have either positive or negative reports on root and stem nodulation with nitrogen-fixing bacteria.
].

Edible Uses

None known

Medicinal

Brazilian orchid tree leaf has become very popular as a treatment for diabetes ever since research carried out in the 1920’s demonstrated its ability to reduce blood sugar levels. The leaves contain a range of compounds including flavonoids, alkaloids, and glycosides. Various trials have been carried out into the health benefits of the leaves, particularly the hypoglycaemic activity. Whilst most of these trials have been positive, at least one was unable to discern positive benefits[
318
Title
Raintree Nutrition - Tropical Plant Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.rain-tree.com/plants.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on the medicinal uses of more than two hundred rainforest plants, mainly from S. America, with basic descriptions of the plants, their other uses etc.
,
739
Title
Medicinal Plants of Brazil
Publication
 
Author
Mors W.B.; Rizzini C.T.; Pereira N.A.
Publisher
Reference Publications; Michigan.
Year
2000
ISBN
0-917256-42-5
Description
An extremely concise book, listing approximately 1,500 species and varieties of plants with their botanical name, common name in Brazil, regions in Brazil where the plant is found, a brief list of uses and any medically active compounds in the plant.
].
The main plant compounds in the plant include astragalin, bauhinoside, beta-sitosterol, flavonols, flavonoids, glycosides, guanidine, heteroglycosides, kaempferitrin, organic acids, quercitrosides, rhamnose, and saponins[
318
Title
Raintree Nutrition - Tropical Plant Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.rain-tree.com/plants.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on the medicinal uses of more than two hundred rainforest plants, mainly from S. America, with basic descriptions of the plants, their other uses etc.
].
Astragalin has well-proven antibacterial activity[
318
Title
Raintree Nutrition - Tropical Plant Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.rain-tree.com/plants.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on the medicinal uses of more than two hundred rainforest plants, mainly from S. America, with basic descriptions of the plants, their other uses etc.
].
Kaempferitrin, a flavonoid, has been shown to significantly lower blood sugar levels, to have diuretic activity and to help repair kidney cell damage[
318
Title
Raintree Nutrition - Tropical Plant Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.rain-tree.com/plants.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on the medicinal uses of more than two hundred rainforest plants, mainly from S. America, with basic descriptions of the plants, their other uses etc.
].

The leaves are anticholesterolemic, blood purifier, diuretic, hypoglycaemic and tonic[
318
Title
Raintree Nutrition - Tropical Plant Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.rain-tree.com/plants.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on the medicinal uses of more than two hundred rainforest plants, mainly from S. America, with basic descriptions of the plants, their other uses etc.
,
739
Title
Medicinal Plants of Brazil
Publication
 
Author
Mors W.B.; Rizzini C.T.; Pereira N.A.
Publisher
Reference Publications; Michigan.
Year
2000
ISBN
0-917256-42-5
Description
An extremely concise book, listing approximately 1,500 species and varieties of plants with their botanical name, common name in Brazil, regions in Brazil where the plant is found, a brief list of uses and any medically active compounds in the plant.
]. An infusion is drunk regularly after meals for its health benefits, whilst it is also drunk specifically in the treatment of diabetes, high blood sugar levels, kidney and urinary disorders, to reduce blood cholesterol levels and as a general tonic and blood purifier[
318
Title
Raintree Nutrition - Tropical Plant Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.rain-tree.com/plants.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on the medicinal uses of more than two hundred rainforest plants, mainly from S. America, with basic descriptions of the plants, their other uses etc.
]. Other conditions that have been treated with the leaves include central nervous system disorders, diarrhoea, elephantiasis, intestinal worms, leprosy, obesity, skin disorders, snakebite and syphilis[
318
Title
Raintree Nutrition - Tropical Plant Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.rain-tree.com/plants.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on the medicinal uses of more than two hundred rainforest plants, mainly from S. America, with basic descriptions of the plants, their other uses etc.
].

Agroforestry Uses:

A fast-growing, pioneer species that also fixes atmospheric nitrogen, it can be used in reforestation projects and, with its small size and fairly open crown, is suitable for use in the first stages of a woodland garden[
419
Title
Brazilian Trees. Volume 1. 4th Edition.
Publication
 
Author
Lorenzi. H.
Publisher
Instituto Plantarum De Estudos Da Flora; Brazil.
Year
2002
ISBN
85-86714-17-8
Description
Information on 350 species of Brazilian trees. Stunning photographs of each species, brief details on the plant, its uses and how to grow it from seed. A superb work, with the minor irritation that the translation from Portuguese is not of the best.
,
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

Other Uses

The wood is moderately heavy, soft, of low durability when exposed to the elements. Too small and of low quality for applications other than making light boxes, light workmanship etc[
419
Title
Brazilian Trees. Volume 1. 4th Edition.
Publication
 
Author
Lorenzi. H.
Publisher
Instituto Plantarum De Estudos Da Flora; Brazil.
Year
2002
ISBN
85-86714-17-8
Description
Information on 350 species of Brazilian trees. Stunning photographs of each species, brief details on the plant, its uses and how to grow it from seed. A superb work, with the minor irritation that the translation from Portuguese is not of the best.
].
Whole trunks and branches are used for fuel and to make charcoal[
419
Title
Brazilian Trees. Volume 1. 4th Edition.
Publication
 
Author
Lorenzi. H.
Publisher
Instituto Plantarum De Estudos Da Flora; Brazil.
Year
2002
ISBN
85-86714-17-8
Description
Information on 350 species of Brazilian trees. Stunning photographs of each species, brief details on the plant, its uses and how to grow it from seed. A superb work, with the minor irritation that the translation from Portuguese is not of the best.
].

Propagation

Seed - it has a hard seedcoat and may benefit from scarification before sowing to speed up germination. This can usually be done by pouring a small amount of nearly boiling water on the seeds (being careful not to cook them!) and then soaking them for 12 - 24 hours in warm water. By this time they should have imbibed moisture and swollen - if they have not, then carefully make a nick in the seedcoat (being careful not to damage the embryo) and soak for a further 12 hours before sowing. Seed the seed in a partially shaded position in individual containers. A germination rate of around 30% can be expected from untreated seeds, with the seed sprouting within 15 - 25 days[
419
Title
Brazilian Trees. Volume 1. 4th Edition.
Publication
 
Author
Lorenzi. H.
Publisher
Instituto Plantarum De Estudos Da Flora; Brazil.
Year
2002
ISBN
85-86714-17-8
Description
Information on 350 species of Brazilian trees. Stunning photographs of each species, brief details on the plant, its uses and how to grow it from seed. A superb work, with the minor irritation that the translation from Portuguese is not of the best.
]. They should be ready to plant out less than 6 months later.
Cuttings.
Layering.
Suckers.
Cite as: Tropical Plants Database, Ken Fern. tropical.theferns.info. 2019-08-25. <tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Bauhinia+forficata>

Comments

José Waizel 09th December 2014 16:22
the powder of the root cooked are employed in Zimbabwe for convulsions, and common name is mutukutupaasi (Zimbabwe).

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