As we were coming back from a trip traversing the Western Ghats, the scarlet blooms intrigued me and we stopped to take few pictures. A ravine with running water next to this tree was filled with Butterflies. I suspected the tree to be related to the Gulmohar tree and indeed found out that the tree was Scarlet Bauhinia and was related to the Gulmohar family.
Other common names of Scarlet Bauhinia are Kempu yathaballi in Kannada, Vallimandaram in Malayalam, and Thukarakkali in Tamil. The botanical name is Phanera phoenicea and belongs to Caesalpiniaceae (Gulmohar) family.
Scarlet Bauhinia is large climbing shrub endemic to the Western Ghats. Since it is fast growing, it can be seen growing tall and in bloom using the trees as support. The shrub blooms during January to February.
The leaves are green ovate, bi-lobed, and heart-shaped. The size of the is 8 cm to 14 cm long and 5 to 10 cm wide.
Flowers are red and bloom at the end of the branches. The stamens are very attractive and are longer than the scarlet red five petals.
The fruits are a matching flat red pods.