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Phanera semibifida (Roxb.) Benth. var. semibifida

Family Name: Fabaceae (Leguminosae)
Synonyms: Bauhinia semibifida Roxb. var. semibifida 
Common Name: Common Bauhinia
Full Sun Semi Shade Moderate Water Native to Singapore Ornamental Flowers Ornamental Leaves Climber, Vine and Liana


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Infraspecific Epithet
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Climber, Vine & Liana
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic


Native Distribution Sumatra, Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Borneo, and Sulawesi
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Primary Rainforest, Secondary Rainforest, Freshwater Swamp Forest, Disturbed Area / Open Ground)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical
Local Conservation Status Native to Singapore (Vulnerable (VU))

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is a woody climber that consists of a stem up to 15 cm wide. Its stem is covered with brown hairs that are lost through abrasion as the plant ages.
Foliage Its simple, stalked leaves possess bilobed leaf blades that resemble the wings of a butterfly flattened out, are 4–11 cm wide, and covered with brown hair below.
Flowers Its flowering shoot develops from the tips of branches or leaf axils. It consists of stalked flowers that are bilaterally symmetrical, with five white petals that will turn yellow with age.
Fruits Its fruits are like dried, woody, strap-straped, bean pods that are 10–20 by 3–4 cm. Each fruit bears up to 6 disc-like, flat seeds within.
Habitat It grows along open areas in forests, and forest edges up to 2000 m altitude.
Cultivation It can be propagated by seed or air layering.
Etymology Latin Bauhinia, commemorating Johann (Jean) and Caspar (Gaspard) Bauhin, two Swiss brothers and botanists; Latin semi, half; Latin bifida, cleft into two parts, referring to the half cleft leaf blades of this species
Ethnobotanical Uses Medicinal ( Its powdered roots are used medicinally in Malay folk medicine.)

Landscaping Features

Landscaping The plant is cultivated for its attractive foliage and flowers. It may be suitable for vertical greening and for planting in parks and gardens.
Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Flowers, Ornamental Foliage
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Moist Soils, Well-Drained Soils, Fertile Loamy Soils
Landscape Uses Parks & Gardens, Vertical Greenery / Green Wall, Trellis / Arbour / Pergola

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Pollination Method(s) Biotic (Fauna)
Seed or Spore Dispersal Biotic (Fauna), Abiotic

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun, Semi-Shade
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Fast
Propagation Method Seed, Air-Layering


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green, Green - Light Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Smooth
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Alternate
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Entire

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality 1 Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) White, Yellow / Golden, Cream / Off-White
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Axillary, Terminal
Flower Symmetry Bilateral

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) - Angiosperms and Gymnosperms Brown
Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type 1 Dehiscent Dry Fruit
Fruit Type 2 Legume / Pod

Image Repository



Master ID 30
Species ID 1326
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 13 May 2022.