There is a metallic red leaf!
Are the flowers pretty? Yes, but not stunning. What is stunning are the amazing metallic red leaves on the flowering shoots. To my great joy there is still room for novelties that makes your heart ache. This gorgeous darling, which I loved tremendously even without the flowers, surprised me with another set of totally surreal leaves. I presume the metallic red copper leaves function like bracts, i.e. their glistering can not be resisted by connoisseur insects and they fly towards the sparkling treasure where they find goblets of nectar.
The endemic (uniquely Thai) golden leaf, Bauhinia aureifolia (Fabaceae) is a main attraction at Dokmai Garden. The flowers and the red shoots emerge during the lush emerald season (now). During the dry season which begins in November you may only admire its young vegetative shoots which are furry like an animal. They have superb young leaves too: a pistachio green top with brown veins and a golden bronze underside. The bronze-silver shimmering sheen of the immature folded leaves are amazing.
Enough said. Although my photographs are just shadows of reality, they may give you a hint of one of the most royal plants I know. Nota bene, the red leaves are young and fresh, not senescent:
Text & Photo: Eric Danell