Buddhist Bauhinia, Orchid Tree, Mountain Ebony
Latin name: Bauhinia variegata Linn. (Caesalpiniaceae)
Sanskrit/Indian name: Kanchanara, Kovidara, Kachnar, Kaniar
Phanera variegata is a species of flowering plant in the family Fabaceae, native to South Asia and Southeast Asia, from southern China, Burma, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Common names include orchid tree, camel's foot tree, kachnar and mountain-ebony. It is a small to medium-sized tree growing to 10–12 metres (33–39 ft) tall, deciduous in the dry season. 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, bright pink or white, 8–12 centimetres (3.1–4.7 in) diameter, with five petals. The fruit is a pod 15–30 centimetres (5.9–11.8 in) long, containing several seeds.
This is a very popular ornamental tree in subtropical and tropical climates, grown for its scented flowers and also used as food item in South Asian cuisine. In the Neotropics, it can be used to attract hummingbirds—such as sapphire-spangled emerald (Amazilia lactea), glittering-bellied emerald (Chlorostilbon lucidus), or white-throated hummingbird (Leucochloris albicollis)—into gardens and parks. On the other hand, in some areas it has become naturalised and invasive.