Kachnar is a flower-bearing plant which belongs to a family of legume named “Fabaceae”. Kachnar in English is known as an 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 the treatment of several diseases since ancient times.
So, Kachnar in English is called a pink orchid tree or purple orchid tree due to its 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 are native to China, India, Australia, and the 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 the 16th and 17th centuries.
The orchid tree is appropriate with the warm local weather and simply mix with the seasonal modifications. Orchid Tree is one of the popular flowering trees that can perfectly in any landscape. Orchid Tree, During the dry season, shed its leaves as it is a deciduous tree.
It belongs to the area of China through Southeast Asia towards the Indian Subcontinent. An 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 a variety of colors For example; pink, purple, white, or lavender and magenta. These are 5-inch wide flowers that add beauty to the landscape.
Kachnar trees start bearing flowers when they turn two or three years old. Pink Orchid tree flowers constitute of five soft petals. Kachnar flowers are concealed and bloom 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.
Usage of Bauhinia Variegata
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 attracts hummingbirds as well.
Sapphire-spangled emerald can also be seen on these trees in the garden and parks.
Kachnar is a Food
In India, Kachnar is also known as an edible bud 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 a 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 can 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 can stay feasible for a year or even more.
Kachnar in English
Apart from Kachnar botanical name “Bauhinia Variegata” an 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, the orchid tree has its 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 the 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. The root of the orchid tree prevents you from obesity issues as well.
Don’t forget to share the importance of the Orchid tree/Kachnar with your loved ones.