BAUHINIA MALABARICA Roxb.
Piliostigma acidum Benth.
Bauhinia tomentosa Blanco.
Bauhinia purpurea Vidal.
Local names: Alambangbang (Tag.); alibangbang (Tag., Bis., Pamp.); balibamban (Pamp.); kalibanbang (Pang., Tag.); kalibangbang (Ilk.).
Alibangbang is very common on open, dry slopes in regions subject to a long dry season in Luzon (Ilocos Norte to Laguna). It also occurs in India to Indo-China, Java, and Timor.
This is a small-sized but stocky tree reaching a height of 8 to 10 meters, with yellowish-brown, checked bark. The branches are freely rebranched, forming a dense crown, the ultimate ones being smooth. The leaves, broader than long, are 5 to 10 centimeters in length, heart-shaped at the base, and deeply notched at the apex. The flowers are white and rather large. The pods are long, narrow, and flattened, being 20 to 30 centimeters by 1.8 to 2.5 centimeters.
According to Gana the bark contains tannin 9.5 percent.
The leaves are sour and are used considerably by the Filipinos for flavoring meat and fish. The mineral content of the leaves shows that they are an excellent source of calcium and a very good source of iron.
Tavera reports that an infusion of the fresh flowers is antidysenteric. He quotes Rheede, who states that a decoction of the root-bark is a common remedy for liver trouble along the coast of Malabar.
According to Guerrero a decoction of the bark is considered antidysenteric; the leaves are used in topicals applied on the head in fevers, which are accompanied by headaches.