Bauhinia bassacensis Pierre ex Gagnep. var. bassacensis
by Dr. Avelinah Julius
Bauhinia bassacensis Pierre ex Gagnep. var. bassacensis
by Dr. Avelinah Julius

The rare Bauhinia bassacensis (Leguminosae-Caesalpinoideae or Fabaceae), previously collected from Klian Trus and Ulu Muda FR, Kedah in 1920 and 1969, respectively, was recently encountered and collected from Langkawi Islands (Pulau Simpang Tiga Kecil) in August 2012. It grows at low altitude from 40 to 150 m. This species also distributed from Myanmar, Vietnam, Thailand, N Peninsular Malaysia, Java and Borneo (Sabah).

It is climber about 6 m tall. The subcoriaceous leaves are ovate or almost orbicular and 7−9 × 6−9 cm. The leaf base is truncate and the apex is emarginate and the cleft split into 1.2−1.8 cm deep. The lateral veins number 5 pairs.

Usually the Bauhinia species we see in the wild or cultivated have red, pink, purple, orange, yellow or white flowers, but the flowers of B. bassacensis are greenish white. The inflorescence is terminal and hairy. The flowers are rather small and measure about 2.5 cm in diameter. For the calyx, tube is ca. 5 mm long and white except for the dark red base, while the 5 lobes (ca. 11 mm long) are thick, hairy and reflexed. The petals are measure 8−10 × 5−8 mm, rounded, crinkled along the margin and both surfaces are silky hairy. They are long-clawed and the slender claw is ca. 7 mm long. This species is characterised by its 3 fertile stamens (23−27 mm long) and 5 staminodes (6−8 mm long).

Several Bauhinia species are grown for their flowers for ornamental and B. bassacensis also has potential to become an attractive plant because its greenish flowers are rather rare in the genus.


  1. Ridley, H.N. (1922). The Flora of the Malay Peninsula, Volume 1. Lovell Reeve & Co., Ltd., London, England. pp. 340, 396, 634, 912.
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