Large shrub or tree up to 15 m. Leaves: stipules triangular, acute, 3-6 mm long; petiole 3-6 cm; lamina broadly ovate to suborbicular, 7-20 cm in diam.; 11-13-nerved; bifid 1/3-1/2 with narrow sinus; tip of lobes rounded to acute, base cordate to truncate; upper surface glabrous, lower pubescent on the nerves. Inflorescences short, few-flowered, brownish pubescent racemes; pedicels 10-15 mm, pubescent; bracts lanceolate, c. 10 mm long; bracteoles linear, 3-6 mm long, inserted at the base of the hypanthium. Petals obovate, 4-5 cm long, gradually tapering towards the short claw; the posterior yellow with large purple spots, the four lateral creamy coloured with pink streaks. Stamen 1 fertile; filament c. 4 cm long, hairy at the base; anther sagittate, 6 mm long; staminodes 9, c. 3 mm long. Ovary stipitate, as long as the stamen; style sparsely pubescent; stigma oblique, flattened. Seeds 10-20, flattened, oblong, black, shining, c. 1 cm diam.
widely cultivated in the tropics: present
Origin unknown; only known as cultivated. Kurz described the species on a collection of Brandis from Burma. Its closest relatives are found in S America and it may be neotropic. The suggestion that it should have originated from Madagascar has not been confirmed. It is widely cultivated in the tropics on account of its showy flowers; in Malesia grown all over, but not commonly.
Some authors report the ovary as minute. We have found some flowers with very small ovaries, others with large ones; this may indicate that some flowers are male, others bisexual.
Rudd - in Fl. Ceylon. 1991: 42.
Merr. - in Enum. Philipp. Flow. Pl. 1923: 260
Wunderlin, Larsen & Larsen - in Biol. Skr. Dan. Vid. Selsk. 1987: 15, 16
de Wit - in Reinwardtia. 1956: 401
Backer & Bakh. f. - in Fl. Java. 1964: 532
Baker - in Hook, f., Fl. Brit. India 2. 1878: 285
Larsen & Larsen - in Nat. Hist. Bull. Siam Soc. 1973: 13
Larsen & Larsen - in Fl. Camb., Laos & Vietnam. 1980: 151
Larsen & Larsen - in Fl. Thailand. 1984: 6
Backer, Schoolfl. Java. 1911: 416
Kurz - in Fl. Burma. 1877: 395
Prain - in J. As. Soc. Beng. 1897: 505
Craib - in Fl. Siam. Enum. 1928: 524
Bauhinia monandra in J. As. Soc. Beng. 42, ii: 73. 1873