Spotting large thick leaves and striking purplish red flowers, the Bauhinia Blakeana is commonly called the Hong Kong Orchid. The fragrant, orchid-like flowers are usually 10-15 cm across, and bloom from early November to the end of March. Although now cultivated in many areas, it was discovered around 1880 by a French Catholic Missionary of the Paris Foreign Missions, near the ruins of a house above the shore-line of western Hong Kong island near Pok Fu Lam and propagated to the Botanical Gardens in Central District. Widely planted in Hong Kong starting in 1914 from the French Mission cuttings (it is sterile) taken from a single tree, all Hong Kong orchid trees today would be clones of the original tree!
The Bauhinia double-lobed leaf is similar in shape to a heart or a butterfly. A typical leaf is 7-10 cm long and 10-13 cm wide, with a deep cleft dividing the apex. Known as the ‘clever leaf’ in Hong Kong, it is regarded as a symbol of wisdom and commonly used to make ‘good luck’ bookmarks.
The first thorough scientific description of the tree was made by Stephen Troyte Dunn, Superintendent of the Botanical and Forestry Department. Dunn named the tree for Sir Henry and Lady Blake. Sir Henry Blake was the British Governor of Hong Kong from 1898 to 1903.
Bauhinia blakeana was adopted by the Urban Council as the floral emblem of Hong Kong in 1965; and since 1997, it’s featured on Hong Kong’s coat of arms, its flag and coins.
Wishing all a great and colourful weekend 🙂 .
Text excerpted from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bauhinia_blakeana
Photo: Fuji X-E1 with XF 55-200mm