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  • News & article

    Are dietary supplements safe?

    Life, Arusa Pisuthipan, Published on 05/07/2016

    » The Thai tropical plant ma mui, or Mucuna pruriens, was on the public radar last year after Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha urged farmers to grow them instead of rice to cope with drought. The herb recently made newspaper headline again when a 21-year-old woman in the southern province of Trang was found dead earlier this month after taking four capsules of ma mui supplements -- samples she received after becoming a member of a direct-sale business selling the supplement product.

  • News & article

    Getting to the root of a soil problem

    Brunch, Published on 21/09/2014

    » Our family friend Annop Ongsakul’s tamarind tree in Phuket toppled over following incessant rains two weeks ago. I was surprised, for tamarind counts among the sturdiest of trees. It thrives in a wide range of soil and climatic conditions, from clay to sandy soil, and in places where rain is evenly distributed or where there is a long and very pronounced dry season. It has an extensive root system, which contributes to its resistance to drought and strong winds.

  • News & article

    Nature’s melodious alarm clock

    Brunch, Normita Thongtham, Published on 25/05/2014

    » Every day around 5am, I am awakened by a riot of sounds from an assortment of birds. As if by cue they start all at the same time, with sounds ranging from the loud “kawow kawow-kawow-kawow” of the common koel or Asian koel, known in Thai as nok kawow (Eudynamys scolopacea), to the explosive “chee-yup, chee-yup” of the common tailorbird, or nok krajib (Orthotomus sutorius) and the plaintive coo-crooo-crooo of the spotted dove, or nok kao yai (Streptopelia chinensis).

  • News & article

    Refreshing initiatives for world water

    Life, Sirinya Wattanasukchai, Published on 25/03/2014

    » World Water Day 2014, which fell on Saturday, aimed to raise awareness of the increasing demand for water and energy around the globe.

  • News & article

    Casuarina and effects

    Brunch, Normita Thongtham, Published on 23/02/2014

    » For some people, the mention of “sun, sea and sand” calls to mind a clear blue sea and a beach fringed by coconut fronds. For others, it evokes having a picnic or lazing the day away by the sea under the shade of a casuarina tree. The truth is that the former is a sight common only in travel brochures; from Rayong in the East down to Phuket in the South, it is Casuarina equisetifolia, commonly known as ironwood or horsetail casuarina (son talay in Thai) that is an integral part of Thai coastal areas. There are more casuarinas on Thai beaches than coconuts.

  • News & article

    On the road again

    Brunch, Usnisa Sukhsvasti, Published on 15/12/2013

    » The roads of Hua Hin seemed to go back in time when a convoy of veteran cars paraded past as part of the 11th Hua Hin Automobile Concours 2013.

  • News & article

    Hedging your bets with bamboo

    Brunch, Normita Thongtham, Published on 06/10/2013

    » When we talk about reafforestation and greening the environment, the first thing that comes to mind is to plant trees. Millions of trees have been planted as part of environmental awareness programmes initiated by conservation groups, government agencies, and companies wishing to improve their corporate image. But I have yet to hear about bamboo being used to rehabilitate degraded forests.

  • News & article

    When they can't stand the heat

    Brunch, Normita Thongtham, Published on 13/10/2013

    » A mother sent me an email from the UK to say that she was coming to Thailand in November and would like to bring vegetable and flower seeds for her daughter, who lives in Rayong. "She mentioned growing plants in pots and I suggested that she plant vegetables in her garden. What would be the best flower and vegetable seeds to take there? I would appreciate any advice you could give me," she wrote.

  • News & article

    Facing the curling questions

    Brunch, Normita Thongtham, Published on 20/10/2013

    » In last week's column, I mentioned that reader Alan Platt sent me an email saying that his potted bamboo plants needed constant watering. If they go without water for 24 hours, their leaves curl up into thin needles and many drop off, and he once returned from a three-day trip to find them totally bare.

  • News & article

    For plump fruit, Starve the tree

    Brunch, Normita Thongtham, Published on 29/09/2013

    » Five years ago I planted a Moringa oleifera tree, known in Thai as marum, on one side of my house. It began flowering when it was about three years old and since then has been flowering heavily most months of the year. Although I have seen insects pollinating the flowers, they never developed into fruit.

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