Bauhinia purpurea L.

Last updated: 15 April 2015

Scientific Name

Bauhinia purpurea L.


Bauhinia castrata Blanco, Bauhinia coromandeliana DC., Bauhinia platyphylla Span., Bauhinia rosea Corner, Bauhinia triandra Roxb., Bauhinia violacea Corner, Caspareopsis purpurea (L.) Pittier, Phanera purpurea (L.) Benth. [1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Tapak kuda (Peninsular); lupit (Sabah) [2]
English Orchid tree, purple bauhinia [2], butterfly tree, camel foot’s tree, geranium tree, pink bauhinia, pink butterfly tree, poor man’s orchid, purple butterfly tree [3], mountain ebony, pink camel’s foot, ebony wood [4]
India Acanomantarai, acanomantaraimaram, acuvacampurrappu, akilu, apta, arelu, arputaveni, ashta, atmanthi, atthi, bannne, basawanapadu, bodanta, bodanta, chettu, borodo, camarikah, chingthao, angangba, chovana-mandaru, cikkapu, mantarai, compucikam, compucikammaram, dev kanchan, deva, deva kaanchana, deva kanchan, deva-kasla, dhondar, dieng long, dundra, garial [3]
Indonesia Aroy kupu-kupu (Sundanese); suwoto (Javanese) [2]; bungan glauka, daun kupu-kupu, kembang sabita, kembang kupu-kupu [3]
Thailand Sieo dok daeng, sieo waan (Northern) [2]
Philippines Alibang-bang (Tagalog) [2]; alibangban [3]
Vietnam M[os]ng b[of] t[is]m [2]
Japan Murasaki-soshin-ka [3]
Nepal Khwairalo, tanki [3]
Sri Lanka Kolar [3]

Geographical Distributions

Bauhinia purpurea is native to tropical Asia. This plant is found in most types of vegetation ranging from evergreen lowlands, rain forests to mountain forests, up to 2000-3000 m altitude and also in savanna, scrub and dry deciduous forests to swamp forests on various soils. [2]

Botanical Description

B. purpurea is a member of the Leguminosae family [1]. It is a shrub or small tree, up to 10 m tall and its young branches are nearly smooth [2].

The leaves are suborbicular, measuring up to 12 cm x 12 cm with bifid up to 1/3-1/2, with rounded to cordate base, apex of lobes is rounded to acute, with 9- to 13-veined, minute stipules of 1-2 mm long. [2]

The inflorescence has 6- to 10-flowered raceme. The flower buds are club-shaped, velvety, 3-4 cm long, top-shaped hypanthium, with narrowly lance-shaped petals of 3-5 cm long, claws 0.5-1 cm long and pink to dark purple. It has 3 fertile stamens with 5-6 staminodes. [2]

The fruit is strap-shaped and not divided. It is 20-25 cm x 1.5-2.5 cm, about 10-seeded, smooth and dehiscent. [2]

The seeds are orbicular and up to 15 mm in diametre. [2]


B. purpurea  is cultivated throughout the tropics, including Southeast Asia and occurs occasionally as an escape from cultivation. [2]

Chemical Constituent

No documentation

Plant Part Used

No documentation

Traditional Use

No documentation

Preclinical Data

No documentation

Clinical Data

No documentation


No documentation

Poisonous Management

No documentation

Line drawing


Figure 1: The line drawing of B. purpurea L. [2]


  1. The Plant List. Ver1.1. Bauhinia purpurea L.[homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2010 Jul 14; cited 2015 Apr 15]. Available from:
  2. Lemmens RHMJ, Bunyapraphatsara N, editors. Plant Resources of South-East Asia 12 (3): Medicinal and Poisonous Plants 3. Leiden, Netherlands: Backhuys Publication; 2003.
  3. Umberto Q. CRC World Dictionary of Medicinal and Poisonous Plants: Common Names, Scientific Names, Eponyms, Synonyms, and Etymology (5 Volume Set). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press; 2012. p. 552.
  4. Herbal medicine research Centre, Institute for Medical Research. Compendium of Medicinal Plants Used in Malaysia. Volume 1. Kuala Lumpur: HMRC IMR: 2002. p.106.