Bauhinia steenisii

Authors: K. & S.S. Larsen

Morphological description (see also description of Genus Bauhinia ; Subgenus Phanera and Section Phanera )
(steenisii Bauhinia compl FM12 )
Large, tendrilled climber; young branches terete, coppery velvety tomentose, soon glabrous.

Leaves : stipules small, broadly ovate, silky hairy, very early caducous, 3-4 mm; petiole rusty velutinous, 2-3 cm; lamina suborbicular to reniform, often notably broader than long, 5-7 by 6-9,5 cm; bifid 1/3; tip of lobes obtuse, base deeply cordate, 11-13-nerved; upper surface glabrous, glossy, lower ferrugineous pubescent.

Inflorescences terminal, short, few-flowered racemes; axis 3-4 cm, densely coppery velutinous; pedicels stout, c. 4 cm long, densely tomentose; bracts narrow lanceolate, silky hairy, 3-4 mm, early caducous; bracteoles minute, inserted about the middle of the pedicel.

Flowers: Buds clavate-ellipsoid with 10 longitudinal prominent ridges, 2.5-3 by c. 1 cm, densely coppery velutinous. Hypanthium tubular, striate-furrowed, 10-15 mm. Calyx splitting into 5 eventually reflexed, strap-shaped sepals, hairy on both sides except for the base of the inner side. Petals white turning deep yellow, silky ferrugineous outside, glabrous inside, unequal from narrow to broadly obovate-lanceolate, with more or less distinct, short claw, 3-4 cm long. Stamens 3 fertile; filaments red, c. 4.5 cm, glabrous; anthers 7 mm, opening by a longitudinal slit; staminodes 2, subulate, c. 1 cm. Ovary stipitate; stipe 10-15 mm; ovary 10-12 mm; style c. 20 mm, all densely coppery woolly pubescent; stigma small, capitate, c. 2 mm.

Pods and seeds?

Malesia: Borneo, only known from Mt Kinabalu.

Several collections are known, all from altitudes between 1700 and 1800 m.

Vernacular names
Koleambang, Akar (Malay).

This remarkable species was first collected by J. & M.S. Clemens in 1932 and since then repeatedly collected on Mt Kinabalu. It has been misidentified as Bauhinia excelsa or B. semibifida from which two species it is readily distinguished by its 10-ridged buds and the small stigma; it may have some resemblance to B. fabrilis from the lowland rain forest of N Borneo; from this species, however, it is distinct by the small and differently shaped leaves, the minute stipules and bracts, and finally the prominent ridged buds.