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Bauhinia tomentosa (St Thomas tree) is a small tree or multi-stemmed shrub. As a tree, it reaches a height of about 24 feet (but can grow taller). In addition, the drooping branches have numerous slender twigs. While, the smooth gray bark becomes brown as the tree ages. Also, the leathery pale green leaves are alternate, deeply divided, bilobate, with entire margins and a leaf stalk. Furthermore, the leaves are about 1 to 3 inches (7.62 cm) long and wide. The leaves resemble a butterfly. Additionally, the yellow flowers with a black to maroon center are bell-shaped, pendulous, and about 2 to 3 inches (7.62 cm) long. Finally, the fruit is a slender, brown, velvety, woody pod about 4 inches (10.16 cm) long. The pod of the Bauhinia tomentosa (St Thomas tree) contains several reddish seeds, used for propagation.
Most parts of Bauhinia tomentosa (St Thomas tree) play a role in traditional medicine. Importantly, the seeds of the St. Thomas tree are said to be poisonous. Also, handling the plant can cause an allergic reaction. In cultivation, the St. Thomas tree tolerates various soil types if it is well-drained. Bauhinia Tomentosa is an outstanding ornamental with its showy flowers and unusual leaves. It can used as a specimen or street tree. Additionally, it can be highlighted in a large planter. As a shrub, it provides an excellent barrier for boundary planting and is easily pruned. The St. Thomas tree does not have aggressive roots and may be cultivated close to buildings.
Other names: Yellow Bauhinia, Yellow Bell Orchid Tree