"Gardening is about enjoying the smell of things growing in the soil, getting dirty without feeling guilty, and generally taking the time to soak up a little peace and serenity. " ~Lindley Karstens

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Special Treats of My Working Day: Hong Kong Orchid Tree Flower

There are six flowering trees in front of my work place building that are currently putting on a show with their magnificent bloomings. Over the years I have been working in the same building, I am often amazed by the beauty of their flowers, and only until recently I learned its name is Bauhinia x blakeana, also known as Hong Kong Orchid Tree.

Among those six trees, three of them have light pink color, and the other three have rich rose-purple color.  Interestingly, the ones producing the pink flowers are almost deciduous, while the ones with purple flowers have leaves which are 4-6 in across and rounded with lobed ends and heart shaped bases.  The blooming usually starts in fall and extending to mid spring.  The early spring like now seems to be its peak time.

It was believed to be a cultivar that was discoved and propagated by missionaries in Hong Kong in 1908 (thus the name Hong Kong Orchid Tree),  although some reports are that the original specimen of this plant was found in Canton, China.

It was named for Sir Henry Blake, the Governor of Hong Kong from 1898 to 1903 and is now the official floral emblem of Hong Kong.   Its Chinese name is: 洋紫荆, or 紫荆花.

Here are some close-up pictures of bloomings and the leaves.

Even the shape of the leaf is unique and lovely!

Ever since they started blooming like crazy about one week ago, I often spend a few minutes to take more closer look of them before stepping into the building to start my day.  I consider this is my special treats of the day :)


  1. Hong Kong Orchid is a beautiful tree. My daughter's neighbor has the purple one which blooms profusely. My daughter enjoys it's beauty as it is just over the back fence from her patio.

    Did you change your header photo? I love those mandevillas. They are so full of blooms. I can't believe I just didn't notice them before.

  2. NanaK: Yes, I don't think anybody can walk by this beauty without noticing it :) Yes, I just changed the header photo last night. Mandevillas is doing very well in my garden, even the frost did not have any impact to it. Recently it starts blooming more prolifically.

  3. The orchid trees are very beautiful. I haven't seen any blooming here yet...I wonder if they survived the freeze.

  4. Thank you for identifying this tree for me. I see many on my daily lunch-time walks, but wasn't sure about their name. So pretty! I agree, even the leaf is lovely.

  5. I've been wanting an orchid tree for a while now. Theres a pretty big one in St. Augustine that surprised me last year.

  6. I look forward to the orchid tree blooms every year...one of those non-native trees I'm so grateful that people choose to plant. They certainly beautiful the landscape.

  7. I love those mandevillas. They are so full of blooms.
    work at home in india

  8. Hello Ami,

    I just love Hong Kong Orchid trees. They grow here in the desert too! I do remember eating dinner at a restaurant in southern China under the shade of a beautiful HK Orchid Tree and I got up to take a picture of the beautiful flowers.

  9. this is a beautiful tree! You're right - the leaves are really nice too - though at first glance I thought they were the dreeaded morning glory seedlings coming up!


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