Bauhinia racemosa* Vahl
A huge climber, branches densely hairy, tendrils circinate, usually opposite the leaves. Leaves alternate, petiolate, petiole c. 7.5-9 cm long, cordate at the base, lobed at the apex, orbicular in shape, 10-46 cm long and almost as broad, sparsely hairy on the upper and densely hairy on the lower surface. Inflorescence terminal, subcorymbose, densely hairy raceme; bracteoles persistent. Flowers white turning buff with age. Hypanthium c. 5-8 mm long. Calyx 3-5 lobed, c. 10-12.5 mm long, splitting into 2-3 parts, densely villous. Petals 5, c. 1.7-4.3 cm long, shortly clawed, spathulate, hairy externally. Fertile stamens 3, 2-7 staminodes may be present. Ovary densely tomentose, style hairy. Pod woody, 22.5-30 cm long,5-7.5cm broad, dehiscent, rusty velvety, 6-12 seeded. Seed flat, dark brown, polished, c. 2.5 cm in diameter.
Fl. Per.: April-June.
Type: Wight and Arnott (l.c.) state that ‘Our Indian specimens were obtained from the Missionaries, Garden and are without flowers or fruits; and as we had not an opportunity of examining Dr. Wallich’s, we have described the flowers from a cultivated one in Mr. Arnott’s herbarium from the Mauritius and taken the character of the legume from Roxburgh's Flora Indica”.
Distribution: W. Pakistan (Punjab); India (Punjab, U.P., Bengal, Behar, Assam, Bombay, Central India, Madras); Nepal; Sikkim.
It is grown as an ornamental plant. The foliage is used as fodder and the seeds are eaten; bark yields good fibres for ropes etc. It is medicinally important and also yields tanning material. The seeds are tonic and aphrodisiac; leaves are demulcent and mucilaginous (Nadkarni, Ind. Mat. Med. ed. 3. 1: 183. 1954).