Saint Thomas tree


Saint Thom·​as tree
: a tropical Asiatic and African shrub (Bauhinia tomentosa) with tomentose to glabrate branchlets, lower leaf surfaces, and pods and yellow flowers with a red or brownish blotch that is grown as an ornamental and found as an escape in the West Indies

Word History


after St. Thomas, one of Jesus' disciples; from the tradition that the red spots on the flowers were caused by drops of Thomas' blood falling on such a shrub when he was martyred in India

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Cite this Entry

“Saint Thomas tree.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jul. 2024.

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