The Bauhinia Tree
Do you know that the Hong Kong orchid tree, also known as Bauhinia blakeana and which appears on the national flag, is actually native from the Hong Kong Island?
Despite its name, the peculiar five-petalled flower is not an orchid but a tree and was discovered in 1880 by a French missionary.
Mesmerized by the beauty of this unique fuchsia flower, he took a cutting and brought it back to France with him in order to study it. The flower is a cross between two known species: Bauhinia variegate and Bauhinia purpurea and its uniqueness is that it is sterile and can only reproduce itself with the help of humans.
It is indeed believed that all Bauhinia flowers found in Hong Kong nowadays are descendants of the same tree.
The Bauhinia was chosen as the emblem of Hong Kong in 1997 to represent the combination of the past and the future in honor of Hong Kong’s complexity and unity (it was already the logo of the Urban Council since 1965).
For those of you who are keen gardeners, Bauhinias like fertile and well-drained soils. They thrive in warmer climates and do best in the sun. Given the right conditions, Bauhinia blakeana is very easy to grow and will make the joy of most novice gardeners! The flowers bloom from early November to the end of March.