Bauhinia tomentosa is a multi-stemmed small tree/shrub characterised with lobed leaves resembling butterfly wings. This tree grows well both under full sun and shade conditions. It is a fast grower, with a growth rate of about 900mm per year. This species of Bauhinia grows from the coastal Eastern Cape and southern Natal to Limpopo and Mpumalanga, as well as the north eastern parts of Gauteng, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and further into tropical Africa.
It grows as an evergreen tree in areas with a temperate climate but can be deciduous in colder or drier areas. B. tomentosa’s bark is grey, smooth and slightly hairy on younger branches, as they mature the branches become brown in colour. The drooping solitary flowers are borne during most months of the year. After flowering, fruits are produced in form of velvety woody brown pods which split on the tree dispersing the seeds.
The Yellow Bauhinia is an ideal plant for hedging. Because of its mature height (8m), this tree is suitable for small gardens. The root system is not so aggressive hence this tree can be planted close to the swimming pool or paving. It is also suitable for growing in a container on the patio. In addition to its ornamental use, B. tomentosa also has medicinal properties for instance, its flowers are used as remedy for Dysentery and Diarrhoea. It can tolerate light frost and is resistant to drought conditions to a certain extent.