Orchid-tree, or mountain-ebony, is native to China and from India to Vietnam. It reaches a height of 40 feet, with a trunk 1 foot in diameter. The leaves are up to 5 inches long and are composed of two leaflets resembling a butterfly, divided by less than one fourth of the length between them. Flowers are up to 4 inches wide and generally have five stamens. Fruits are flat pods up to 9 inches long that open lengthwise on both sides and twist while liberating the seeds. It flowers from fall to spring, and the pods open during spring and summer. The generic name honors the Swiss botanists Gaspard Bauhin (1560-1624) and Johann Bahuin (1541-1613). The species name refers to the variable coloration of the flower.

The photographed tree is in front of the Physics Building. There are other other trees of the lilac variety near the entrance to the Dispensary, southwest of the Dean of Students, and west of the residence occupied by the Institute for the Development of Online Learning and Teaching (IDEAL).

Bauhinia variegata (Fabaceae)