Ajuntament de Barcelona

Bauhinia forticata

Mossèn Costa i Llobera Garden

    Catalan name: 
    Pota de vaca
    Spanish name: 
    Pata de vaca
    English name: 
    Cow's foot
    Botanical synonyms: 
    Bauhinia candicans, Bauhinia aculeata, Bauhinia Braziliensis
    Species characteristics
    Brazil and Peru
    River and stream banks

    Thorny deciduous tree 3-8 m tall.

    The simple oval leaves are 8-12 cm long and have acute or subacute lobes.

    The flowers, similar to orchids, appear into axillary bunches in groups of two or three. The shape of the five white petals, 5-10 cm long, is variable: from linear to oblong. The buds are covered by a light ochre-coloured layer.

    The fruits are dehiscent (they open spontaneously to release the seeds) leathery or woody legumes, up to 15 cm long. The light chestnut-brown legume is flattened and straight and contains few flattened seeds.

    Flowering time: 
    Summer-early autumn
    Fruiting time: 
    Uses and properties: 

    Wood from a Cow's Foot or Pata de Vaca is used in carpentry although it's much more used in medicine.

    It's very appreciated as a decoration tree because of its appearance as well as its leaves and flowers, which resemble an orchid.

    It can live in mild weather areas with no restrictions of water.

    History and curiosities: 

    The scientific name, Bauhinia forticata, consists of the genus name Bauhinia, dedicated to the Swiss botanists Jean (1541-1613) and Gaspard Bauhin (1560-1624), and the Latin term forticata, “scissor-shaped”, probably in allusion to the flower petals.

    In Barcelona, it is not very common.

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