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hongkong orchid tree

i just sent the other two pictures to donna, one of the tree, one of a bough. all three picture need a little explanation.

the purple orchid tree is bauhinia x blakeana. mine is probably a cross between that tree and b. forficata, which is the white orchid tree. i plucked the seed from which it grew from a b. blakeana; the tree is about 4 years old. i've never pruned it so it's rather like a large shrub with a 3-foot single trunk.

the tree does not willingly set seeds. each flower will produce a pod, quite like a lima bean, but most [if not all] of them will be empty. i remember some years ago going through hundreds of pods from three orchid trees near the sarasota farmers' market and not finding one seed. very discouraging.

the tree blooms for about 6 weeks, starting about the middle of february and ending about the first of april. the flowers do not last if picked. but the don't last very long on the tree, either. there are just zillions of them opening one after another.

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