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Bauhinia bowkeri

   (Family: Fabaceae)
Afrikaans: Keibeesklou English: Kei White Bauhinia Xhosa: umDlandlovu  EDIT
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Plant Type: EDIT  Shrub
Height: 5 - 6m
Spread: 1 - 3m
Special properties:
  Drought Resistant (heavy)
  Frost Tolerant (light)
Rarity Status:
Preferred rainfall: Summer
Preferred position:
Full Sun
Tolerated soil:  
  Loam (gritty, moist, and retains water easily),
Clay (fine texture, holds a lot of water),
Sand (coarse texture, drains easily)
Flowering time EDIT
                  x x x
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Flower colours
  Flower scent EDIT
  Strongly sweet-scented flowers
  Flower info
  The flowers are carried in bunches along the branches and at their tips, each bunch consisting up to 6 individual strongly sweet-scented flowers. Long slender buds are enclosed by a brown calyx that splits to the base along one line only to release the flowers. Each flower is ±40 mm long with smooth, pure white wavy petals, ten fertile stamens on ±30 mm long filaments, and a style tipped with a greenish stigma. The calyx persists, becoming maroon-brown streaked with greenish-cream on the outside and greenish-cream on the inside. It encloses one side of the base of the flower and after the petals have dropped, it tops the developing seed pod, eventually drying and shrivelling up.
Leaf shape EDIT
Leaf margin
Leaf type
Leaf arrangement
Leaf texture Smooth
Bark / Stem type
  Leaf info EDIT
  Distinctively butterfly-like and consist of two rounded, nearly semi-circular lobes fused along the inner margins as if on a hinge. In this species they are deeply bi-lobed, divided for about two-thirds of their length, and 10-40 mm long x 20-50 mm wide on petioles approx. 15 mm long.
Fruit type EDIT
Fruit colour
Fruit size Length: 130mm   Width: 20mm
  Seeds per fruit 7
  Seed size Length: 10mm   
  Seed info EDIT
  The pods are woody, dark brown, up to 150 mm long, straight and narrow, splitting explosively at the sides along its entire length, to release flattened circular approx. 10 mm diameter seeds during late summer to autumn. The woody spiral remains of the previous season's pods often remain on the bush for some time.
Description EDIT
A much-branched, scrambling, woody shrub that can reach a height of 5-6 m.
Growing EDIT
Best planted in fertile, well-composted soil in a sunny, well drained position and thrives in warm dry gardens especially in the bushveld and thicket regions of South Africa. It is a drought tolerant shrub that also grows well in the winter rainfall Western Cape, where it should be watered occasionally during the dry summer months. It is tolerant of a wide range of soils and is suitable for most gardens where frost is not too severe. It re-sprouts vigorously when pruned. An annual compost dressing or mulching during late winter is highly beneficial. Once established, it is a long-lived shrub flowering profusely during spring and summer. Bauhinia bowkeri can be grown as a solitary specimen or in groups. It makes a good screening plant and is well suited for growing against fences and embankments.

Easily propagated from seed sown during spring or summer, planted 1-2 mm deep in sandy well drained potting soil, placed in a warm position and kept moist. Germination should occur within 3 weeks and the process can be speeded up by soaking the seed overnight in warm water. To prevent pre- and post-emergence damping off the seed should be treated with a fungicide prior to sowing, or watered with a fungicide immediately after sowing.

The seedlings should be potted up into individual bags/pots as soon as the first pair of true leaves appears, and care should be taken to avoid damaging the developing tap root. The growth rate of the seedlings is medium to fast and flowering can expected within 5-8 years.
Distribution EDIT
A rare endemic of the thicket or valley bushveld region in the Eastern Cape. It occurs along the Mbashe River margin between Umtata and Butterworth, where it is locally common and sometimes occurs in dominant stands, often in rocky ground.
History EDIT
Ecology EDIT
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