Bauhinia blakeana, commonly called the Hong Kong orchid tree, is a hybrid leguminous tree of the genus Bauhinia.
The missionary collector subsequently propagated it in the grounds of the nearby Pok Fu Lam Sanatorium run by the Missions E´trange`res de Paris, and from there it was introduced to the Hong Kong Botanic Gardens and the grounds of the Roman Catholic Cathedral in Canton (now Guangzhou).
Stephen Troyte Dunn, Superintendent of the Botanical and Forestry Department, subsequently formally named it B. blakeana in honor of Sir Henry Blake, Governor of Hong Kong between 1898 and 1903.
By 1903, the tree in the Botanic Gardens was reported to be flowering profusely and persistently. The tree survived being blown over by a typhoon in 1906 and was subsequently used to propagate new trees vegetatively over the years.
From 1914, B. blakeana was extensively planted as an ornamental in various regions of Hong Kong.
The genus name Bauhinia was named after Bauhin brothers Gaspard and Johann. Swiss-French botanists. The specific name blakeana was named after Sir Henry Blake, Governor of Hong Kong between 1898 and 1903.
Since Bauhinia blakeana is a hybrid, according to the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants ( ICNafp ), it should be named Bauhinia x blakeana.
Bauhinia blakeana is a leguminous tree capable to grow up to 40 feet in height. It has a rounded, spreading canopy. Prunning during the initial years is needed to develop a more uniform crown.
The flower is large, purplish and orchid-like. Flowers are sterile and thus it will not become pest in the landscape. Propagation is by grafting, cutting and air-layering.
The leaves are alternate, simple and lobed ( distint shape of a camel’s hoof ).
Bauhinia x blakaena was selected as the floral emblem of Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong in 1997. The design features in HK’s emblem and flag.
As early as 1993, Bauhinia x blakeana was use in the new HK coins, to replace the portrait of QE2.
It was also used as emblem for HK’s Urban Council ( 1883-1936 ).