Purple Orchid tree - bauhinia purpurea

I had previously identified this tree as a Bauhinia Tomentosa but I am now thinking that it is a Bauhinia Purpurea. I am not 100% sure on this though so if anyone out there thinks I´ve wrongly identified it I´d like to know.
This tree is the only one of this species that I have found. Its close relative the Bauhinia Blakeana on the other hand is very common in this area (Malaga, Spain)
The branches of the Purple Orchid tree hang down giving a vine like appearance.

External links

Other Bauhinia trees...
Brazilian Orchid tree

Olive tree

In Southern Spain, where I live, there are a lot of Olive trees. Especially in the provinces of Cordoba, Jaen and Granada. These Olive tree growing regions are the source of a large percentage of the world´s Olive Oil and Olives.
So to get pictures of Olive tree all I have to do is walk out the front door and look around. Most o these pictures were taken within five minutes walking of where I live. The image above is of the Olive flower (blossom).
Any given Olive tree can produce green or black olives depending on when they are harvested. When they are harvested before they turn black you get green olives. If they are harvested when they are fully ripe you get black olives.
There is only one Olive tree species (Olea Europaea) but there are quite a few sub-species that produce different varieties of Olives. Olive tree wood is also extensively used as a carving wood and also for small furniture. Below is the base of an old Olive tree.

Common name(s):  Olive tree,
Scientific name:  Olea europaea
Family:  Oleaceae – Olive family
Native range:  Mediterranean region
Type: Evergreen
Non-native distribution: widely cultivated worldwide. Notably in California, Australia, Southern Europe, North Africa, Middle East etc.
Average height: 15 - 45 feet (6-15m)  
Forest or habitat:  Original range unknown. No truly wild populations exist.
Wood density and quality:  slow growing, moderately hard wood, beautiful grain
Leaf shape: Lanceolate, slighly cuneate (tip more rounded than base)
Leaf arrangement:  Opposite and decussate
Leaf margin:  Entire, slightly undulate
Leaf venation:  Rachis (main vein) visible and pronounced but secondary pinnate veins difficult to distinguish.
Leaf stem:  Short petiole
Leaf surface:  Glabrous. Dark green topside, light green bottom side.
Inflorescence type:  Raceme. Opposite and decussate (30-50 flowers per raceme approx.)
Flower: Small, creamy white,
Pollinating agents: Wind
Fruit type and color: Drupe, green then ripens to dark brown - purple-black
Edible?:  Yes (fruit and associated oil)
Seed description:  0.5 - 1.0 cm in length, pointy on both ends, “football shape”
Seed dispersal mechanism:  birds,
Bark:  smooth and grey in young trees and new branches. rough and furrowed in older trees.
Traditional uses:  food, oil, carving wood
Commercial uses:  cosmetics, oils, soap, cabinet wood
invasiveness:  limited
Iconic or symbolic value:  Olive branch symbolises peace and / or victory.  In the story of Noah´s arc the dove brought back an Olive branch signifying hope and restoration.

Ceiba Pubiflora 2

The sheer size of this tree makes it hard to photograph in one frame. Also, the fact that is is surrounded by other trees and palms make it a bit tricky. These are my best pictures of the whole tree. If there is interest I can post a higher resolution image.
I´ve also posted some different images of this tree at www.tree-species.com

Ceiba Pubiflora

I have been unable to find a common name for this tree in English. In Spanish it is called the "Palo Borracho Rosado" which means something like "Drunk Pink Pole". The tree is native to Paraguay and Brazil. I took these pictures in Malaga, Spain quite near to the entrance of the port in a garden that the locals call "Paseo del Parque" (a sign in the park reads "Jardines de Muñoz de Grain"). At any rate this park has a collection of trees and plants that rivals many botanical gardens.A sign at the base of this tree last year indicated that it was Chorisia Speciosa but it has recently been replaced with a new sign that gives the species as Ceiba Pubiflora. The two trees have a lot in common but are not identical. For one the thorns (spikes) on the C. Pubiflora are a lot smaller than those of the Chorisia Speciosa or Chorisia Insignis. From a distance the flowers look very similar also but up close the differences can be easily seen.

Date Palm

These are images of the Date Palm (Phoenix dactylifera) which is the source of edible Dates. In the image above the Dates are ripening. On the palm below they are almost ripe. If they are not harvested they fall to the ground and make quite a mess. You can find seeds or more information about this palm at rarepalmseeds.com

I´ve often wanted to try and climb one of these Date palms to get some of the Dates. Climbing a palm tree is no simple matter though. Even if you do manage to get to the top when you are holding on for dear life with both hands how do you pick the Dates?
The Date Palm has an elegant shape and is extensively used in Southern Spain as an ornamental tree in gardens, parks and avenues.

Argan (Argania spinosa)

No, these are not a strange breed of four legged monkey. The animals in this picture are goats in Southern Morocco feeding on the fruit of an Argan tree. I first became interested in this tree when I was introduced to the oil that is made from the Argan nut. It is a highly valued oil with similar properties to Olive oil. In Morocco the oil is extracted by hand which makes it a bit expensive and difficult to come by.

Ginkgo Biloba

The Ginkgo Biloba tree (also called the Maidenhair tree) is a living relic that only survives in the wild in a small region of China. This unique tree that can grow to large proportions is now cultivated in many urban areas around the world as an ornamental and shade tree.
The Ginkgo has one of the most unique leaf shapes of all trees. This makes it very easy to identify if you ever come across one. There are also Ginkgo leaf fossils where you can easily make out this leaf shape.
I found this large Ginkgo tree in the "Fuente de Berro" park in Madrid, Spain. The lowest branches are so large that the tree is almost as wide as it is tall.
The new leaves grow out of short stems that grow along the length of the branches. It appears as though these stems grow longer year by year.
I came back to this tree in mid september and discovered that it was bearing ripe fruits. I had never seen these fruits before so I was quite excited to find a few hanging on the branch as well as a few laying on the ground among the fallen leaves. The fruits are round and about 3 cm in diameter.
I cut open one of the fruits that I found on the ground. Under the smooth skin was a layer of soft flesh similar in consistency to a apricot. Beneath this was a rather large seed (considering the size of the fruit). This seed was about 2 cm long and 1.5 cm wide.
The seed itself had a hard shell that encased a softer core. In the picture below you can see the whole fruit, half a fruit without the seed, the seed shell and the soft inner part of the seed.

Sacred Fig

The Sacred Fig tree (Ficus Religiosa) is a member of the Ficus genus (figs). It is revered as a holy tree in India where it goes by the name Pipal tree and several other Asian countries. It has a unique leaf shape that gives it a value as an ornamental tree. The leaves quake in the wind in a similar way to Poplar trees or Quaking Aspen.

The fruit of the Sacred Fig are little (1cm) "figs" that are not edible (at least I don´t think they are??). These little figs turn a dark purple-brown color when they are ripe and end up falling to the ground. This can cause quite a mess under the tree when all the little figs lay roting on the ground.
The Sacred Fig tree also has a unique trunk shape. Instead of being evenly round in its diameter the trunk is folded and irregular as you can see in the picture below.
Simalar trees...
Ficus Benjamina

Eucalyptus torquata - Coral Gum Tree

I found this tree in the University of Malaga botanical garden.
While not as large as some of the other Eucalyptus trees that have been introduced from Australia it has one of the most striking flowers.
I kept going back to this tree for about a month trying to get the best images of its remarkable flowers.

information and resources on Eucalyptus cultivation around the worldThis tree had been identified as a Eucalyptus ficifolia but my friend Gus at Eucalyptologics provided the proper identification as a Eucalyptus torcata which is commonly called the Coral Gum. If you are interested in the cultivation of Eucalyptus trees outside of Australia you should check out his blog that is loaded with information and resources on Eucalyptus cultivation around the world.

White Silk Floss

This picture of the Chorisia Insignis flower was taken in the University of Malaga Botanical Garden. A related tree, Chorisia Speciosa has been extensively planted as an ornamental tree in Southern Spain. The Insignis species is much less frequent however.

One of the unique features of this tree is the thorns that cover the trunk and branches. They are very sharp and can grow up to two inches long. On some trees they cover almost every square inch of trunk and branches while on others the thorns are spread out.

This White Silk Floss tree is located in Malaga, Spain not far from the entrance to the port. The trunk of this tree is about 5-6 feet in diameter.

More interesting trees...
Illawara Flame tree
Ceiba pubiflora
Blue Jacaranda
Pecan tree

Cedar of Lebanon

This Cedar of Lebanon tree is in the "Fuente del Berro" park in Madrid, Spain. The park also has quite a few Himalayan Cedar trees as well. Although it is not the biggest garden-park in Madrid it has one of the most diverse collections of trees.

It may come as a surprise to some that the tree we commonly call "Cedar" in the United States is not really a true Cedar. There are only 2-3 species of true Cedars in the world; Lebanon, Himalayan and Atlas (some consider the Atlas as a subspecies of Lebanon).

More Evergreen trees...
Aleppo pine
Coastal Redwood
Giant Sequoia
Monkey puzzle tree
Norfolk Island Pine
Pine nuts
Ponderosa Pine

Weeping Bottlebrush

The Weeping Bottlebrush is one of my favorite flowering trees. These images were taken in the University of Malaga Botanical Garden in Southern Spain.

The largest of this tree species that I have found was about 40 feet tall (near the Picasso gardens in Malaga). The bottlebrush shaped flowers grow out of a series of knobs that form on the end of the branches.

After the flowering season the red bristles fall off but the knobs stay on the branch. As the branch continues to grow the old knobs move farther and farther away from the end of the branch. If you follow the branches back from their ends you will find several years of previous flower knobs still present.

More trees that might interest you...
Illawara Flame tree
Strawberry tree
False Aralia

Hong Kong Orchid

The Hong Kong Orchid tree is an extravagant ornamental tree with pink and white orchid like flowers. When the tree is in bloom it is a very beautiful sight.

The scientific name for this tree is Bauhinia blakeana. It is not a very large tree, the largest that I have seen is about 20 ft tall.

Another tree from the Bauhinia genus that I have found is the Purple Orchid tree.

The images below are of some different color variations that I have found of this tree and its sister species.

More trees in this blog...
Brazilian Orchid tree
Eucalyptus ficifolia
Illawara Flame tree
Persian lilac

Horse Chestnut

The Common Horse Chestnut tree is a large deciduous tree with palmate leaves. The fruit is quite similar in appearance to that of the Sweet Chestnut tree but is not edible.

While walking through the "Fuente del Berro" park in Madrid last summer I came across a variety of Horse Chestnut with flowers that are a pastel pink color.

More trees...
Sacred Fig
Chinese fan palm
Norfolk Island Pine