Bauhinia malabarica

Author: Roxb.

Morphological description (see also description of Genus Bauhinia and Subgenus Elayuna )
Dioecious tree up to 15 m tall. Young branches pubescent to almost glabrous.

Leaves: (malabarica Bauh infl/lf 386314; malabarica Bauh lfl/infl FT3)stipules linear-acute, 2-3 mm, very early caducous; petiole glabrous to pubescent, 2-4 cm; lamina ovate to rotundate, 4-12 by 8-16 cm; 9-11-nerved; bifid 1/6 - 1/3 with wide sinus; tip of lobes rounded, base truncate to cordate; upper surface light green to subglaucous, sparsely pubescent; glaucous (greyish-white when dry) and glabrous to pubescent below.

Inflorescence: short, simple or few-branched racemes from the leaf-axils, up to 5 cm; bracts very small, triangular; pedicels filiform, 1-2 cm, pubescent, with very reduced bracteoles , inserted variously, c. 1 mm, ± persistent (malabarica Bauh lfl/infl FT3 ;malabarica Bauh infl/lf 386314).

Flowers: Buds club-shaped, pubescent, 6-10 mm, the female larger than the male. Hypanthium turbinate, 3-5 mm, longest in the female flowers. Calyx splitting in 2-3(-5) lobes in the upper part. Petals white, oblong, c. 10 mm with short claw. Male flowers: fertile stamens 10, shorter than the petals, outer whorl longest; filament glabrous; anthers oblong, 2 mm, opening by a longitudinal slit. Female flowers: staminodes 10, very small; ovary stipitate, 5-6 mm, densely tomentose; style short; stigma peltate.

Pods indehiscent or tardily dehiscent; strap-shaped, often slightly bent, terminated by a long, straight beak; surface finely reticulate, glabrous, 20-25 by 1-1.5 cm (malabarica Bauhinia pod FT3 ).

Seeds 10-30, rounded-elliptic, 7 mm diameter, dark brown.

On the northern hemisphere from India through Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam to the Philippines, on the southern in Malesia from Java to Timor and in Queensland, Australia. It is lacking on the Malay Peninsula.

A typical species for the dryer, deciduous, monsoon forests at lower altitudes, rarely found above 300 m altitude.

Vernacular names
Philippines: Bambang (with prefixes alam-, ali-, bali-, kali- in various languages); Indonesia: Kandakajan (Sund.), Kendaja(h)an, Pontjollok (Java); Tjampalok (Madura); Rarukamba (Sumba); Kri(p)pi, Rufe (Sumba); Masi (Timor), Kalikeng, Njanjilu (Flores).

Larsen & Larsen (1996) have included the var. acida of de Wit or Bauhinia acida of earlier authors in the species as they did not find the characters, mainly based on the leaves, sufficient to maintain a separate taxon. Their experience from field studies showed that there is a clinal variation between populations with glabrous and pubescent leaves; often the latter are most common in the driest areas; var. acida was also established on the character of sour-tasting shoots; this field character has to be reinvestigated.