Flower and Fruit Grown Directly on Tree Trunk and Main Branches

June 21, 2022



Photographer: Menashe Davidson 

Summary Author: Menashe Davidson 

Trees, especially in arid and semiarid lands, help form the "backbone" of the landscape. However, flowering trees add beauty to a yard in a way that few other plants can match. During a walk in Rishon LeZion Israel, on April 24, my eyes were attracted to the beauty of the blooming of the orchid tree (Bauhinia variegate). Their orchid-like, bright pink, purple and white flowers were visually ravishing.

Most woody flowering plants produce inflorescences or new growth on young leafy shoots. But with Bauhinia variegate, the white flowers grow directly on the trunk and or main branches of the tree. This unusual botanical trait is called cauliflory and the plants themselves are considered cauliflorous. The term is derived from the Latin caulis, meaning stem, and flor, meaning flower. Examples of cauliflory fruits include coffee, cacao, jack fruit and coconut.