Mandaram Flower – Dwarf White Bauhinia

Dwarf White Bauhinia is a small tree with nice and fragrant white flowers. It is very suitable as a garden plant along with other flowering shrubs like Ixora (Chethi).

In Kerala, it is known by the name Vella Mandaram. Its scientific name is Bauhinia acuminata and belongs to the family Fabaceae. Other common Bauhinia varieties found in Kerala include:

  • B. tomentosa (yellow flowers)
  • B. purpurea (red flowers)
Mandaram Flower - Dwarf White Bauhinia - Bauhinia acuminata
Vella Mandaram

Important Facts

Plant Type: Perennial Shrub / Small Tree
Family: Fabaceae
Scientific name: Bauhinia acuminata

Height: 2.5 to 4 meters
Flowers: White color
Flowering Season: Spring to early Summer

Common names
In English: White Bauhinia, Dwarf White Orchid Tree
In Malayalam: Mandaram

Main Uses: Ornamental plant, religious offerings & poojas

Mandaram Flower - Dwarf White Bauhinia

Appearance

Being a tall shrub that looks like a small tree, this plant has a nice and clean appearance when planted in gardens. A fully grown plant is usually 2.5 to 4 meters tall and can also provide a little shade. However, it takes a couple of years (4 to 5) to grow to that height. 

Leaves

Leaves are the main peculiarity of Bauhinia varieties. A leaf has two lobes which usually fold together by evening and open by dawn.

The leaves are nearly 8 cm long and that much wide. It surface is water repellent.

Leaves of Dwarf White Bauhinia (Mandaram)
Water-repellent leaves of Mandaram

Flowers & Fruits

The beautiful white flowers have five petals. They have a slight curvature, making the corolla appear like a concave. There are ten yellow stamens and a green stigma which attract butterflies and bees.

The main flowering season is during the spring which lasts till early summer/monsoon season. 

The fruits occur in the form of long pods/containers which bears the seeds. They are green with a hard covering.

Seed pod of Bauhinia acuminata
Seed pod of B.acuminata

Important Uses

  • In many parts of the world, mainly the tropics, it is grown as an ornamental flowering plant.
  • The white flowers are auspicious. They are used for poojas and as offerings to temples.

Distribution, Habitat & Propagation

Dwarf White Bauhinia is native to Asia and Southeast Asia. However, now this small tree is grown in other parts too as a garden plant.

As a wild plant, it also grows in warm tropical deciduous forests. The propagation is usually from seeds.

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