Family • Fabaceae - Bauhinia monandra Kurz - PINK BUTTERFLY TREE

Alibangbang is a common name shared by (1) Bauhinia malabarica, alambangbang, malabar orchid, and (2) Bauhinia monandra, Napoleon’s plume.

Orchid tree is an English common names shared by several Bauhinia species: (1) B. variegata (2) B. purpurea and (3) B. monandra.

Butterfly tree, derived from the “butterfly” shape of the leaves common to many Bauhinia species, is a common name shared by many Bauhinia species, among them: B. purpurea, B. monandra, B. variegata.

Scientific names

Bauhinia monandra Kurz
Bauhinia kappleri Sagot
Bauhinia krugii Urban
Bauhinia porosa Baill.
Bauhinia punctiflora Baker
Caspareopsis monandra (Kurz) B & R

Common names

Alibangbang (Tag.)
Butterfly flower (Engl.)
Fringon (Span.)
Pink bauhinia (Eng.)
Pink butterfly tree (Engl.)
Pink orchid tree (Engl.)
Poor man’s orchid (Engl.)
Napoleon’s plume (Engl.)

Other vernacular names

CHAMORRO: Flores mariposa.
FRENCH: Bauhinia à fleurs roses.
MAORI: Ipena, Pi, Pine, Pipi
SAMOAN: Vae povi.
SPANISH: Fringon, Orquidea del pobre.
TONGAN: Fehi, Napoleone.


Gen info
– Bauhinia is a genus of more than 200 species. The genus was named after the Bauhin brothers, Swiss-French botanists. The species share the ‘butterfly’ configuration of the leaves.
– Alibangbang is an Ilongo word for butterfly.

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Evaluation of the hypoglycaemic activity of Bauhinia monandra leaf in Alloxan- diabetic rats and INS-1 insulin cells / G.O Alade, O.R. Omobuwajo et al / J. Chem. Pharm. Res., 2011, 3(2):506-521

(2) Evaluation of the genotoxic potential of Bauhinia monandra leaf lectin (BmoLL) / Herbert Ary Arzabe Antezama Costa Nóbrega Sisenando, Márcia Fernanda Silva Macedo et al / Food and Chemical Toxicology, Volume 47, Issue 2, February 2009, Pages 303-308

(3) Hypoglycemic activity of two Brazilian Bauhinia species: Bauhinia forficata L. and Bauhinia monandra Kurz. / Fabio de Sousa Menezes, Andrea Barreto Mattos Minto et al / Brazilian Journal of Pharmacognosy
17(1): 08-13, Jan./Mar. 2007

(4) Antioxidant activity of leaf extracts from Bauhinia monandra / Argolo AC, Sant’Ana AE, Pletsch M, Coelho LC. / Bioresour Technol. 2004 Nov;95(2):229-33.

(5) Evaluation of Bauhinia monandra aqueous and ethanol extracts in pregnant rats / Mendes CC, Marinho CM, Moreira-Junior VF et al / Pharm Biol. 2010 Jul;48(7):780-5.

(6) Nutritional Potential of the Seedes of Bauhinia monandra / Anhawange BA, VO Ajibola, SJ Oniye / Journal of Food Technology 3(2):204-208, 2005.

(7) Bauhinia monandra / Common name details from PIER


(9) Effect of Ethanolic Extract of Bauhinia monandra Leaf on the Liver of Alloxan Induced Diabetic Rats / Onyije F M, Avwloro O G / J Phys Pharm Adv 01/2012; 2(1):59-63

(10) Evaluation of Bauhinia monandra aqueous and ethanol extracts in pregnant rats. / Mendes CC, Marinho CM, Moreira-Junior VF, Queiroz FM, Dantas GL, Macedo MF, Oliveira CN, Schwarz A. / Pharm Biol. 2010 Jul;48(7):780-5. doi: 10.3109/13880200903280018.

Similar to Bauhinia acuminata but grows only to medium size. Flowers are showy and about 10 centimeters across; petals spreading, pink, purplish, the middle petal with numerous, small red-purple dots. Fertile stamen is only one.

– Widely cultivated in cities and towns in the Philippines.
– Native to Borneo.
– Naturalized in tropical America.

• Butanol fraction of a methanol extract of dried leaves yielded quercetin-3-rutinoside.
• Aqueous extract yielded a flavonoid: 3,7-di-O-α-
• Study on nutritional content of seeds showed: Lipids 28.7%, protein 33.09%, carbohydrate 21.45%, fiber 3.25%, phytate 11.5 mg/100g, hydrogen cyanide 0.32 mg/100g, tannins 6%, and saponins 2.05%.


Astringent, febrifuge, laxative.

Parts used
Bark, pods.

– Leaves and pods eaten as vegetable in China.
– No recorded folkloric medicinal use in the Philippines.
– In Brazil, used for diabetes.
– In Africa, pods are pounded and boiled in water to provide a laxative drink.
– In India pod is used as astringent for diarrhea, dysentery and as cure for fever. Decoction of root and bark used for leprosy and small pox. Leaf extracts used for eye ailments.
– An anti-inflammatory ointment is made from the bark.

– Dyes: In Africa, pods and seeds are sources of black and blue dyes.
– Fiber: In Eastern Sudan, crumble bark is a source of fiber for cordage.

Study Findings
• Toxicity Study: Acute and subacute toxicity study in rats of a methanolic leaf extract of Bauhinia showed relatively low toxicity on acute administration but advises caution when used subacutely as anti-diabetic remedy.
• Anti-Diabetic: Study of methanol extract of dried leaves of B. monandra in alloxan-induced diabetic rats showed significant blood glucose reduction. A water fraction had hypoglycemic activity comparable to glibenclamide.
• Non-Genotoxic / Non-Cytotoxic / Antioxidative Potential: BmoLL is a galactose-specific lectin purified from the leaves of Bauhinia monandra with a hypoglycemic potential demonstrated in rats. Study showed the lectin Bmoll did not produce any genotoxicity and cytotoxicity in all assays used. A significant decrease in spontaneous mutation frequency was noted in E coli strains, especially in the repair-deficient strain, suggesting an anti-oxidative potential.
• Antioxidant: In a DPPH assay, leaf extracts exhibited very potent antioxidant activity, compared with pure catechins used as positive controls.
•Flavonoids / Antioxidant: Study of ethyl acetate extract of leaves isolated 2 active compounds: quercetin-3-O-rutinoside and quercetin. Compound 2 had higher antioxidant activity while compound 1 had lower activity than L-ascorbic acid.
• Reproductive Benefits: Study of aqueous and ethanol extracts of dried leaves on pregnant Wistar rats showed no evidence of maternal or fetal toxicities and the aqueous extract promoted increased implantation and decreased post-implantation loss in pregnant rats.
• Seeds / Nutritional Study / Potential Nutrient Source: Protein content was 33.09%, comparing fairly with soya beans (Glycine max) and groundnuts (Arachis hypogaea). Seeds also yield 21.45% soluble carbohydrates, comparing favorably with soybean 20.7% and peanut 24.6%. It also yields 3.25% fiber. The hydrogen cyanide content was 0.32 mg/100g; chronic exposure has been reported to cause neurological, respiratory, cardiovascular and thyroid debilities. Study concludes BM seeds are rich in nutrient and low in anti-nutritional compounds. If popularized, the plant may serve as a complimentary source of essential nutrients to man and livestock provided toxicants are removed.
• Nephrotoxic Effect: Study of leaf extract in alloxan-induced diabetic rats showed significant elevation of creatinine at higher dose of B. monandra. Although it showed an ability to reduce blood sugar levels in diabetic rats, it may be toxic to the kidney at high doses.
• Hepatoprotective / Antidiabetic: Study evaluated the effects of a leaf extract in the liver of alloxan-induced diabetic rats. Results showed significant reduction of blood sugar level in diabetic rats as well as a hepatoprotective effect.
• Reproductive Effects / Toxicity: Study of aqueous and ethanol extracts from dried leaves of B. monandra in pregnant Wistar rats showed no maternal or fetal toxicities, no impairment of reproductive performance or delay in fetal development. The aqueous extract promoted increased implantation and decreased postimplantation loss in pregnant rats.
• Antidiabetic / Stem Bark: Study