Vana Sampige or Mandara Hoo (Kannada) tree was in my uncle’s farm and everyday few of the flowers from this tree would be plucked to worship god. I used to touch these flowers to feel the silky-smooth petals. I used to term them shy flowers as they never opened fully.
The other common names of Yellow Orchid Tree are St. Thomas Tree, Yellow bauhinia, and Yellow Bell. In Kannada, it is known as Mandara Hoo and Vana Sampige. Amil Tanki in Nepali. The botanical name is Bauhinia tomentosa and belongs to Caesalpiniaceae (Gulmohar) family. Yellow Orchid tree is native to Mozambique, Zimbabwe, tropical Africa, India, and Sri Lanka.
Yellow Orchid tree grows to a height of 4 meters. The multiple branches droop. The bark of the tree is grey or brown and covered with hairs. The leaves are green, elliptic, and divided. Flowers are pale yellow and bell-shaped. A brown spot in the middle adds to the beauty of the flower. The flowers attract a variety of birds, bees, and butterflies to feed on the pollen and nectar.
The fruits are green pods, slender, and velvety. The pods turn brown.
The wood is used in building rafts and huts. All parts of the Yellow Orchid tree is used in native medicine to treat a wide range of ailments.
Propagation of the yellow orchid tree is by seeds or cuttings. Plant them in full sun in well-drained soil. Water daily and fertilize twice a month.