National Flower of Hong Kong - Bauhinia blakeana

The Bauhinia blakeana, a native species discovered in Hong Kong, is the floral emblem of that territory. It was chosen as the logo of the Urban Council in 1965, and it was later incorporated in the flag and emblem of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China after the 1997 handover of Hong Kong from the United Kingdom to the People's Republic of China.

Bauhinia blakeana is an orchid tree of the genus Bauhinia with large thick leaves and striking purplish red flowers. The fragrant, orchid-like flowers are usually 10 to 15 centimetres (3.9 to 5.9 in) across, and bloom from early November to the end of March. Although now cultivated in many areas, it originated in Hong Kong in 1880 and apparently all of the cultivated trees derive from one cultivated at the Hong Kong Botanic Gardens and widely planted in Hong Kong starting in 1914. It is referred to as bauhinia in non-scientific literature though this is the name of the genus. It is sometimes called the Hong Kong orchid.

The Bauhinia double-lobed leaf is similar in shape to a heart, or a butterfly. A typical leaf is 7 to 10 centimetres (2.8 to 3.9 in) long and 10 to 13 centimetres (3.9 to 5.1 in) wide, with a deep cleft dividing the apex. Local people call the leaf "clever leaf", and regard it as a symbol of cleverness. Some people use the leaves to make bookmarks in the hope that the bookmarks will bring them good luck in their studies.

It is sterile (does not produce seed), and is a hybrid between Bauhinia variegata and Bauhinia purpurea. Propagation is by cuttings and air-layering, and the tree prefers a sheltered sunny position with good soil. As it is only known in cultivation, it can also be named as a cultivar: Bauhinia 'Blakeana'.

This tree was discovered in around 1880 near the ruins of a house on above the shore-line of western Hong Kong island near Pok Fu Lam and propagated to the formal botanical gardens in Victoria/Central. It was later named for Sir Henry Blake, British Governor of Hong Kong, from 1898 to 1903 who was a keen amateur botanist, by the man who made the first thorough scientific description of the 'Hong Kong orchid tree' S. T. Dunn, Superintendent of the Botanical and Forestry Department, who assigned it to the genus Bauhinia and named it after Blake in his paper of 1908.

Bauhinia blakeana was adopted as the floral emblem of Hong Kong by the Urban Council in 1965. Since 1997 the flower appears on Hong Kong's coat of arm, its flag and its coins; its Chinese name has also been frequently shortened as 紫荊/ ( yáng means "foreign" in Chinese, and some may consider this would be deemed inappropriate by the PRC government), although 紫荊/ refers to another genus called Cercis. A statue of the plant has been erected in Golden Bauhinia Square in Hong Kong.

Although the flowers are bright pinkish purple in colour, they are depicted in white on the Flag of Hong Kong. The endemic plant of Hong Kong was introduced to Taiwan in 1967. In 1984 it was chosen to be the city flower of Chiayi City, in southwestern Taiwan.

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