Orchids of Krabi – Flowering Thoughts

OrchidsMany might now know that the much loved Dendrobium is the most popular genus of orchids, the mother and father of the numerous Orchidaceae present in Thailand. Dendrobium is an easy to grow and fast-flowering orchid, with as many as 30 long-lasting orchid sprays a year. It is the Dendrobium that introduced Thailand to the world orchid industry and elevated it to the top of the Asian orchid exporting market with big weekly orders from Scandinavian countries and a Japanese market that alone is worth an annual turnover of US$ 100 millions to the Thai nation…

Orchid in Thai is ‘gluay mai’. Thailand is today famous for its huge variety of orchids; orchids’ admirers will amaze at the variety and quantity of the flower they will see in the country, which has around 1150 currently known species of Orchidaceae. This plant differ according to habitats and province in the country, with an array of specimens both rare and common; the best way to find them is by visiting botanical gardens, present all over the country. Alternatively, you can chose to explore natural reserves and national parks with the support of a local guide, as a thorough exploration of little-visited habitats of Thai orchids will give you the chance to find some rare exemplars.

OrchidsUnlike some hybrids with their large and long-lasting flowers, native orchids of Krabi and Southern Thailand have small blossoms in short flowering periods and their reproduction from seeds is very unlikely. The best time to see flowering wild orchids in Krabi and Southern Thailand is March through May: at this time of year whole hillsides can be seen decked with orchid flowers through all levels of the forest. Orchids’ magnificent colours and beauty make them a popular tourist purchase. Specially packaged flowers complete with water supply are readily available for the long journey home and can be conveniently purchased in many Krabi locations and inside Krabi and other major international airports.

OrchidsThe island of Koh Lanta has a few orchid nurseries, located in different parts of the island. There are orchid farms that run exhibitions that show all stages of nursing orchids, from the minuscule seeds to the flowering plant, and help visitors to understand the complicated life cycle of the orchid family. There you can experience colourful flowers of various hybrids that have been cross-bred for easier cultivation, or admire small flowers of the natural ones that are found on trees in the upper canopy of the rain forest, where the humidity is high all year round. In some farms you can admire exotic and rare varieties of orchids. The best seems to be the Lanta Orchid Nursery at Phansai, opened daily from 9am to 5pm, you can visit their Facebook page

But let me tell you the story of Khun Pradit Kham-Phoemphun, a man from Udon Thani famous for successfully breeding, after experimental crossing orchids from the forests of Northern Thailand, an orchid that has fragrant flowers and blooms all year round. His persevering effort yielded a beautiful, sweet smelling orchid 10 years later, which today he uses for producing the perfume made from the fragrance of an orchid flower. Following this success, Mr. Pradit co-operated with several government agencies to establish a company that today produce perfume from the orchid under the brand name Miss Udon Sunshine. This is still the one and only perfume factory in the world that uses orchids as raw material. You may be able to purchase a bottle of Miss Udorn Sunshine in orchid farms and in gifts shops around the country.


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About the author

Thomas has a university background in the UK and in Latin America, with studies in Languages and Humanities, Culture, Literature and Economics. He started his Asian experience as a publisher in Krabi in 2005. Thomas has been editing local newspapers and magazines in England, Spain and Thailand for more than fifteen years. He is currently working on several projects in Thailand and abroad. Apart from Thailand, Thomas has lived in Italy, England, Venezuela, Cuba, Spain and Bali. He spends most of his time in Asia. During the years Thomas has developed a great understanding of several Asian cultures and people. He is also working freelance, writing short travel stories and articles for travel magazines. Follow Thomas on www.asianitinerary.com

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