Thailand is a country in South East Asia with a wet, tropical climate that supports the growth of a vast array of native flora and fauna. A majority of Thailand’s plant biodiversity falls within the heavily endangered category. As an attempt to protect its native endangered plant species of the land and ocean, the country has signed a number of environmental contracts. It has also converted about 13 percent of its land and sea area into natural preserves. It is assumed that Thailand has as many plant species as found on the entire European continent. However the majority of these remain undocumented.
The ratchaphruek flower (Cassia fistula linn) is not only a Thai native flower but is also the national flower of the country. The yellow flower clusters grow on the ratchaphruek tree and the yellow color is symbolic of Buddhism and glory. The tree blooms between February and May and flowers are reflective of the harmony and unity of the Thai people. The tree defoliates while the flowers are still blooming, hence leaving only the flowers on the branches. The flower is common throughout the country and is frequently seen growing along roadsides.
Bat flower (Tacca chatrieri) is a native flower of Southeast Asia including Thailand and is also referred to as the devil flower. The flower is purple-black in color and resembles a flying bat. The flower blooms from late summer to early fall and the plant has shiny, green and white variegated leaves. The flowers grow in the humid areas of the country and as large as 12 inches in diameter in their natural habitats. The flowers have 2-foot-long whiskers, which are the main source of pollination as jungle creatures brush past them. When given optimal growing environment with high humidity and liquid fertilizer, bat flower plants grow to 2 feet in height.
Frangipani is a native Thai flower and is referred to as lantom. The flower is frequently used in the Buddhist temples as part of the worshipping ritual. Frangipani flowers grow on deciduous trees and belong to the plumeria family. The tree grows to a mature height of 26 feet with fragrant flowers in white, yellow or pink. The most common flower color is pink. Frangipani is a tropical plant and grows best in well-drained soil and areas of full sun. The frangipani tree grows very well in containers and can be kept to a desired shape by regular pruning. Regular fertilization improves tree resistance to common diseases.
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