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KANCHAN or VARIAGATED BAUHINIA Bauhinia variagata Linn.

(Order: Leguminosae), Bauhinia, in honour of John and Caspar Bauhin, two sixteenth century herbalists. Variagata in allusion to its variability, particularly the colouring of the flowers. Description: A medium-sized deciduous tree reaching 30 ft.; bark dark brown, nearly smooth. The young parts are covered with a brown felting. Leaves bilobed, 4-6 in. long as broad as or broader than long with a median cleft reaching 1/4 - 1/3 the way, lobes blunt. Flowers large fragrant, in fewflowered racemes at the ends of the branches or in the axils of the leaves; calyx tube 1/2-1 in. long, spathe-like; petals 5, 2-2.5 in. long, obovate, rosepink with prominent veins; stamens 5, fertile. Pods 6-12 in.; seeds 10-15. Distribution: Sub-Himalayan tract from the Indus eastwards. Assam, Burma and China; Chota Nagpur, Central Provinces and Western Peninsula. Gardening: Propagated by seed. Cuttings root with difficulty. Often planted in gardens. Uses: The tree yields a gum having similar properties to Cherry Gum; bark used for tanning and dyeing. Leaves used for the wrappers of bhedis. Seeds yield oil. Wood used for agricultural implements and fuel. The leaves, buds and young pods are eaten as a vegetable, and the buds are often pickled.