Foto info
ative Photo: Thingnam Girija
Common name: Kachnar, Orchid Tree, Varigated Bauhinia • Hindi: Kachnar कचनार • Manipuri: চিঙথ্ৰাও Chingthrao • Marathi: kanaraj, kavidara, kanchan, rakta-kanchan • Malayalam: chovanna-mandaru, chuvanna-mandaram • Telugu: Bodanta, Daevakanchanamu • Kannada: arisinantige, ayata, bilikanjivala, irkubalitu • Bengali: ৰক্তকংচন Raktakanchan • Oriya: vau-favang, vaube, kachan • Khasi: Dieng long, Dieng tharlong • Assamese: Kotora, Kurol • Mizo: Vau-favang, Vaube, Vaufawang • Sanskrit: Ashmantaka, asphota, Chamarika, Chamari • Nepali: कोइरालो Koiraalo • Tangkhul: Haochokwon
Botanical name: Bauhinia variegata    Family: Caesalpiniaceae (Gulmohar family)

Kachnar is closely related to peacock flower and to the tree many consider the world's most beautiful, the royal poinciana - and it shows! Orchid tree is staggeringly beautiful when in bloom - and it blooms for several months! Orchid tree grows 20-40 ft tall and 10-20 ft wide with a spreading crown of briefly deciduous leaves which are 4-6 in across and rounded with lobed ends and heart shaped bases. The leaves are shaped a little like a cow's hoof. The flowers are reminiscent of showy orchids, with five irregular, usually slightly overlapping petals in shades of magenta, lavender, purplish blue or even white. The flowers often make their first appearance in late winter while the tree is bare of leaves. The blooming period then lasts until early summer. The flowers are 3-5 in across and carried in clusters at the branch tips. A postal stamp was issued by the Indian Postal Department to commemorate this tree.

Photographed in Jamia Millia Islamia, Delhi.

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