World Flower II - Bauhinia
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Tuesday, 10 October 2006
In the hands of Mettes & Co.
The owner hasn't set their collectible preference.
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To travel to my owner's country of origin, Hong Kong. I would especially like to visit Victoria Peak on Hong Kong island. I would also like to visit the Tseun Wan and Wan Chai district of mainland Hong Kong and the Big Buddha on Lantau island (GC251B).
Eventually, I would like to travel back to Canada.
About This Item
Bauhinia blakeana is an evergreen tree, in the genus Bauhinia, with large thick leaves and striking purplish red flowers. The fragrant, orchid-like flowers are usually 10-15 cm across, and bloom from early November to the end of March. This unique endemic flower is special of Hong Kong's ecosystem. It is referred to as bauhinia in non-scientific literature though this is the name of the genus. It is sometimes called Hong Kong orchid tree.
The shape of a Bauhinia double-lobed leaf is similar to a heart, 7-10 cm long and 10-13 cm broad, with a deep cleft dividing the apex. Local people call the leaf chungmingyip ("clever leaf"), and regard it as a symbol of cleverness. Some people use the leaves to make bookmarks in the hope that it will assist them to study well.
It is usually sterile (does not produce seed), suggesting a hybrid origin, probably between Bauhinia variegata and Bauhinia purpurea, though this is still a matter of debate. Propagation is by cuttings and air-layering, and the tree prefers a sheltered sunny position with good soil.
It is named after Sir Henry Blake who was British Governor of Hong Kong from 1898 to 1903. An enthusiastic botanist, he discovered it in 1880 near the ruins of a house on the shore of Hong Kong Island near Pok Fu Lam. The first scientific description of the Hong Kong orchid tree was published in 1908 by S. T. Dunn, superintendent of the Botanical and Forestry Department, who assigned it to the genus Bauhinia and named it after Sir Henry Blake.
**Usage as an emblem**
Bauhinia blakeana was adopted as the floral emblem of Hong Kong by the Urban Council in 1965. Since 1997 it has become the floral emblem for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, and appears on its flag and its coins; its Chinese name has also been frequently shortened, given the meaning of "foreign" in Chinese, and some may consider this would be deemed inappropriate by the PRC government. 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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