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Anacacho Orchid Tree
Anacacho Orchid Tree-Bauhinia lunarioides
Custom Plant Information By Wilson Landscape Nursery & Florist
Anacacho Orchid Tree is native to the Anacacho Mountains of Kinney County, Texas. These hills are in southwest Texas, west of San Antonio, toward the city of Del Rio, south of Highway 90. Anacacho Orchid tree is rare in Texas but a Texas native none-the-less. It is also native to Maverick and Val Verde Counties, also in southwest Texas, and northeastern Mexico.
This is a beautiful, tuff, multi-trunked, small ornamental tree or large shrub, depending upon how you trim it. Little white orchid-like flowers cover it in spring, usually beginning in early April. It blooms a few weeks later than the Redbud trees. The flowers are very fragrant. It will re-bloom throughout the summer after rainfall though not as awesome as at first. This awesome native small ornamental tree is simply unknown by many people or it would be used much more. Its leaves look like a small-leafed Red Bud tree. On closer inspection the leaves resemble a little cow's foot with a partial division between the two lobes of each individual rounded leaf. The leaves are only a few inches across but there are many. When not in bloom, Anacacho Orchid is pleasant to look at. It has an attractive limb structure that shows a tiered effect, especially when thinned out to reveal the limb structure.
Use as a small ornamental tree like Crepe Myrtle. Cut the older limbs of the multi-trunked base, at the base, (do not top) periodically, to create a large cascading shrub and to keep it fresh. Left to itself, Anacacho Orchid will become a multi-trunked large shrub. It seems to look better when the number of trunks are reduced to five or so. It is difficult to maintain as a single trunked specimen nor does it seem to look as good when trimmed that way. It can reach 10’ feet tall and just as wide. It grows a little wider and shorter than a Redbud tree.
Unlike Red Bud, Anacacho Orchid will re-bloom throughout the summer, especially after rainfall, though never quite as awesome as its spring bloom. It is very drought tolerant and the foliage looks better than a Crepe Myrtle during drought. Anacacho Orchid loves full blazing sun and will not do nearly as well as an understory tree like Red Bud. It does well in rocky conditions along with some soil enhancement as well. It actually does not perform as well in deep, light, organic soil. It likes to dry out between waterings and performs very well on rainfall alone, once established, as long as it rains at least once a month in summer.
All plants have strengths and weaknesses. In these plant information sheets you will find plants that overcome weaknesses. We are continuing to add worthy plants, a custom work in progress.
Anacacho Orchid Tree does not shear well so is not a good fit for the person who wants a neat boxed, rounded or sheared hedge/shrub. It is difficult to create and maintain a single trunked tree-like form. It can look a bit too airy and ragged for some. It gets pretty big so may outgrow its space. It needs to be cleaned up of occasional dead wood and twigs every few years to look its best. It also looks best when the sucker growth is minimized to five trunks or so. Left to itself it will become a large shrub with some eventual dead wood. After years of growth, it is best not to try to save an old branch by cutting it back or topping it off. It is better to cut the older limb off at the base. New suckers/water sprouts are always emerging and need to be kept up with for a more majestic open look. It does not like deep soil where automatic sprinkler systems keep the ground wet for extended periods. It needs to be staked if the soil is deep and loose or it will grow crooked or blow over in the wind. It actually prefers some rockiness and dryness which is really not a weakness, except for the puzzled gardener who cannot figure out what he or she is doing wrong by giving the plant such great care. Anacacho Orchid Tree should not be given very much shade and should not be thought of as an understory plant like Redbud. It loves full blazing sun. The flowers, themselves, are not as large or pretty as a true Orchid. There are several larger flowering Orchid Trees but these are not as cold-hardy or tough as the Texas Anacacho Orchid though their leaves and flowers are more awesome in a more favorable environment. Anacacho Orchid tree produces an abundance of green seed pods in late summer. These pop open at random with a popping sound on late hot summer days releasing seeds which is interesting. After this the seed pod casings turn black and shrivel remaining on the tree a few months which is not particularly attractive.
Anacacho Orchid Basic Information
Sun/Shade: Full sun
Type: A deciduous flowering ornamental tree or large shrub.
Deer Resistance: Not favored by Deer.
Butterflies/Hummingbirds: Love it.
Drought Tolerance: Very drought tolerant but looks best with watering after drying out without wilting.
Soil: Not particular about soil as long as it drains well and does not remain constantly wet. Does well in rocky soil or better with soil enhancement but does not like deep organic soil alone.
Water: Smart Watering Principle=Water well by gently flooding when first planted, then allow to dry slightly, without wilting, then water deeply again, etc.
Easy Watering Principle= Water every day the first week; every second day the second week; every third day the third week; every fourth day the fourth week; every fifth day the fifth week then once every two weeks if it does not rain. A soaking rainfall should last for about two weeks worth of watering. Do not keep constantly wet.
Fertilizer: Does not need much fertilizer.
Maintenance Tips: Use some rocky hard soil along with good soil when planting. Firm the base and support the trunk with a boulder or stake the trunk since the tree tends to bend at the base in loose soil or until firmly established. Train into a low canopied multi-trunk tree-form like Mountain Laurel for the best effect.
Rating: Rates high as a landscape plant.
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