Kanchon or Orchid tree, Bauhinia variegata

Rokto kanchon or Orchid tree (Bauhinia variegata, family: Caesalpiniaceae) is a small or medium-sized deciduous tree with numerous and scattered branches. Trunk is short. Bark is rough, grey-colored. As an ornamental plant it is found in parks, gardens, botanical gardens in Bangladesh. The home of the beautiful flowering plant is South and Southeast Asia. 

Other names: Rokto kanchon, Lal kanchon.

It can be easily identified by looking at its leaves. Suddenly it looks like a pair of wings of butterfly. These are green, ovate, parltly bilobed, shiny, 8-12 cm long, apex emerginate, 11-15 veins, long-petioled.

Flowers are magenta with reddish tone, edge slightly white, sweet-scented, 5-6 cm wide, borne on inflorescence. Petals 5, sepals 5; stamens 5, uneven. 

It is an iconic flower of spring of Indian subcontinent, especially in Greater Bangla. It blooms during February-April. Its white flowers are also seen in Bangladesh, and of the same species. 

Fruit is a pod, dehiscent, 15-26 cm long and 2.5 cm wide, slightly curved, deep brown, skin has obvious vein marks. Seeds are round, slightly brown, 5-10. One of the main features of the seed is, it suddenly bursts and spreads in different directions.

The plant is found in the hilly areas of Greater Chottogram and Greater Sylhet. Bark contains tannin. It is used in plethora, strangury and headache. 

Different parts of the plant also play a very beneficial role in healing asthma, stomach ailments and wounds. Roots are poisonous and it is used as the antidote of snakebite. This tree is considered as a sacred plant by the Buddhist community of the country.

It is propagated by seeds and cuttings. The seedlings of the fast-growing plant grow easily from seeds. It flowers within a year of planting. One last thing to say, many people confuse it with Debkanchon. Kanchon blooms in spring, Debkanchon in late autumn. Kanchon's color is reddish magenta, Debkanchon light magenta.


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