Bauhinia semibifida Roxb., Hort. Bengal. [31] (1814)

Name meaning 'half-split', referring to the leaves.

Phanera semibifida (Roxb.) Benth.

Woody twinning climber. Leaves butterfly-shaped, green and glabrous above, silver below with fine brownish-orange hairs on base and along veins, giving leaves a golden sheen. Young leaves orangey and folded, extended by a pair of velvety stipules before emerging. Stems densely covered by fine fuzz of orange hairs. Flowers start out white and age to yellow, fragrant, produced on terminal, elongated erect racemes. Flower buds mature from fairly glabrous white to pubescent golden brown, opening sequentially from bottom to top. The flowers have a opening at the base of the style which is used by ants, who can be found inside the carpels in quite large numbers. Plant rarely blooms, but flowers are long-lasting (at least a few weeks). Fruits are golden brown, woody explosive seed pods with distinct drip-tip, ripening from green to brown in around 1 month after pollination.

Usually on open places in forest, or along roads. On well drained soils.


India and Sri Lanka, Indochina, Philippines, western Indonesia to Sulawesi.

Local names
English: Butterfly climber, Trailing Bauhinia.