Since I've been living in Silver Lake I have come across some mysterious new finds. Mysterious to me. Taken for granted by others. One such find is the beautiful and beguiling Bauhinia xblakeana (pronounced baw-hin-ee-ah) also gorgeously referred to as the Hong Kong Orchid-Tree. I have seen this tree used quite a bit around here as a parking strip specimen. Have you ever taken a moment to walk up to one of these trees and check out the flowers? If not, go outside right now and find one. If you don't live in Los Angeles, Hawaii, or Hong Kong let me tell you the floral spectacle of this semi-evergreen tree is a flamboyant fantasy of color and exotic awesomeness. Bauhinia xblakeana was originally cultivated in Hong Kong. Some say it originally was grown and distributed by a monastery somewhere in southern China. This lore adds to the mysterious allure of this exotic example of breathtaking beauty.
The magical mystery of Bauhinia xblakeana doesn't stop at its flowers. Legend has it that the leaves of this tree, which are twin-lobed and reminiscent of a butterfly or heart shape, are said to bring academic luck to those who use them as book marks. Once again nature astounds with such a clever design! As a tree, Bauhinia xblakeana can grow up to 20 feet tall and wide. It produces stunning flowers up to 6 inches in diameter from late autumn through spring. Flower color can range from magenta, rose, cranberry, to deep wine. They also produce a lightly intoxicating fragrance. Bauhinia xblakeana loves full sun, well-draining soil, regular water, and is hardy to 25 degrees fahrenheit/-3 degrees celsius. This tree represents what I would consider the glamourous life. It's very stylish, very exotic, and lusciously lavish.