Kachnar is basically a flower bearing plant which belongs to a family of legume named “Fabaceae”. Kachnar in English is known as Orchid tree and Mountain ebony as well. “Bauhinia Variegata” is Kachnar botanical name. Flowers, buds, stem, roots, bark, seedpod, seeds and Kachnar leaves have also been used for treatment of a number of diseases since ancient times.
So, Kachnar in English is called pink orchid tree or purple orchid tree due to their pink and purple flowers. The butterfly shaped leaves make them more unique and attractive from the rest of the flowering trees.
Kachnar Botanical Name- Bauhinia Variegata:
This beautiful flowering plant species is native to China, India, Australia and Philippines. The name Bauhinia was given to it by a Swedish botanist, Linnaeus in the honor of Bauhin brothers Johann and Gaspard. These two brothers were also botanists from 16th and 17th century.
The orchid tree is compatible with the warm climate and easily blend with the seasonal changes. It is one of the popular flowering trees which perfectly fits in any landscape. During the dry season orchid tree, shed its leaves as it is a deciduous tree.
It belongs to the area of China through Southeast Asia towards the Indian Subcontinent. Orchid tree is a small to medium sized plant. The tree grows to 10 to 12 meters with a length of 33 to 39 feet.
Kachnar leaves 10 to 20 centimeters long and they are obcordate shaped. You will find its leaves broad, rounded and bilobed from the base and apex portions.
The orchid tree bears sweet scented flowers which are 8 to 12 centimeters or 3.1–4.7 inch diameter. These flower blossoms in variety of colors For example; pink, purple, white or lavender and magenta. These are 5-inch wide flowers which add beauty into the landscape.
Kachnar trees start bearing flowers when they turn two or three years old. Pink Orchid tree flowers constitutes of five soft petals. Kachnar flowers are concealed and blooms into orchid like delicate flowers.
Its fruit is known as seedpod which is 15 to 30 centimeters long. Seedpod comprises of several seeds and gets dry on the tree. Later on, when the maturity season comes, this seedpod twists into a helix or corkscrew shaped structure.
Seedpod gets brittle, when dried with many seeds. It explodes and spread the seeds in the area which makes more orchid tree to grow in the area.
Kachnar tree or orchid tree is popularly known as an ornamental tree. It’s scented and colorful flowers make it suitable for the sub-tropical and tropical climates.
You will see Kachnar usage in many countries like India, Nepal and Pakistan. Moreover, this beautiful ornamental tree attract hummingbirds as well.
Sapphire-spangled emerald can also be seen on these trees in the garden and parks.
Kachnar as a Food:
In India, Kachnar is also known as an edible buds which they collect from the tree. Kachnar buds are used in many recipes of the Indian subcontinent. It is also part of Achaar there as well.
They use Kachnar in making curry which is prepared with the help of buds, yogurt and onion. In some regions, Kachnar is stir-fried as a vegetable to add in the pickle. Moreover, adding small chopped pieces of beef with Kachnar in Indian recipes has also become a custom.
Environmental impacts on Orchid Trees:
Kachnar trees can tolerate a variety of habitats and soils like gravelly, shallow, rocky, sandy loam and loamy soils and well-drained soil. They can best grow under the PH acid and in medium textured loamy soil.
You will find this conspicuous flower bearing orchid tree surviving drought and severe summer heat. It is also resistant to the water-logging that occurs seasonally.
In Australia, Bauhinia variegate is also considered as an environmental weed because it grows fast. Therefore, Kachnar leaves and flowers have displaced native vegetation due to its invasive nature.
Moreover, you will find these fast growing Kachnar trees in many parts of Florida. They have the ability to invade into thick forests and along the roadsides. Their tendency of invasion makes them grow in natural areas.
Hence, the reason behind these environmental aspects of Orchid trees or Kachnar is that their seeds have the capability to stay feasible for a year or even more.
Kachnar in English:
Apart from Kachnar botanical name “Bauhinia Variegata” and orchid tree, Kachnar in English is called by many other names as well. Some of them are mentioned below:
- Mountain Ebony
- Pink Butterfly Tree
- Purple Orchid Tree
In French, it is known as Bois de Boeuf, which means “Beef Wood”.
Health Benefits of Bauhinia Variegata:
In the subcontinent, orchid tree has its own importance in the field of medicine. It is also used to cure many skin diseases like leprosy.
The bark of this tree is used in making tonics and astringent-(for contraction of tissues and canals). The decoction of the bark of this tree is used in curing dysentery. On the other hand, buds of Kachnar plant are used to treat diarrhea.
The flower buds infusion has proved good to treat severe coughs.
Thus, this beautiful flower bearing tree has many health benefits. In fact, the root of orchid tree prevents you from obesity issues as well.
Don’t forget to share the importance of Orchid tree/Kachnar with your loved ones.