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  • LIFE

    Xerophytes win water fights

    B Magazine, Normita Thongtham, Published on 22/05/2016

    » May is almost at an end. Usually around this time, our friends Bantherng and his wife Phen are busy harvesting lychee in their orchard in Phetchabun. This year, however, not one of their more than 100 trees bore fruit. In fact, not one lychee tree in their district of Nam Nao, some 40km from Nam Nao National Park, had fruit this year.

  • LIFE

    Worthy of a name

    B Magazine, Normita Thongtham, Published on 04/12/2016

    » Piya Chalermglin, PhD, intrepid plant explorer and extraordinary researcher at the Thailand Institute of Scientific and Technological Research, recently retired. He spent 20 years of his career surveying the country's plant genetic resources, particularly Magnoliales, which includes the custard apple family Annonaceae and the magnolia family Magnoliaceae. In the process, he earned the distinction of having discovered 17 species new to science, joining the likes of famous botanist Carl Linnaeus and other plant explorers who immortalised their names by inspiring the names of some plants.

  • LIFE

    If you can stand the heat

    B Magazine, Normita Thongtham, Published on 01/05/2016

    » It's especially hot, of course, in Thailand during the summer months. But judging from the way Cassia fistula is blooming heavily this year, this summer has been even hotter than previous years.

  • LIFE

    Ginger up

    B Magazine, Normita Thongtham, Published on 27/11/2016

    » Regular reader Paul Schiller sent me a photo of a plant growing in a flower pot at his summer home in Khao Lak, Phangnga province. "Do you know this small beauty?" he asked. The plant was a cluster of lance-shaped bright green leaves, with a terminal pendant inflorescence hanging from each stem. What's attractive about the plant was the unusual inflorescence, which comprised of showy, widely spaced purple bracts. From the base of each bract emerged the long, tube-like pedicel of a small yellow flower. The plant's stems and leaves are those characteristically belonging to members of the ginger family.

  • LIFE

    Exploring the world garden

    B Magazine, Normita Thongtham, Published on 05/06/2016

    » During my visit to the Philippines two months ago, a good friend of mine gave me a bag of pistachio nuts which her sister, Pin, had sent her from the US. Pin and her family live in Delano, California, and she regularly sends food packages that includes pistachio nuts, almonds, dates and raisins to her sister in the Philippines.

  • LIFE

    National tree's great white hope revealed at last

    B Magazine, Normita Thongtham, Published on 05/05/2013

    » I don't remember now if I read or heard from someone many years ago that Cassia fistula, known in Thai as ratchapruek, has a mutant strain with white flowers. Cassia fistula is the Thai national tree and produces the national flower and is a familiar sight along Bangkok's streets and provincial roads, as well as in public parks and private gardens throughout the country. However despite how ubiquitous the tree, is until recently I had never seen one with white flowers. Once, passing through Lop Buri while travelling to Phetchabun, I saw a tree whose flowers were a few shades lighter than most, but they were still yellow, not white.

  • LIFE

    Branch out and keep your cool

    B Magazine, Normita Thongtham, Published on 17/01/2016

    » We were in the grounds of the seaside Marriott hotel in Rayong during a family holiday recently. I was walking towards the beach, with my husband, ML Charuphant, following several steps behind, when he called out.

  • LIFE

    Government stumped on tree pruning

    B Magazine, Normita Thongtham, Published on 18/10/2015

    » I had a strange dream last night. The mahogany trees along Rama IV Road from the railroad crossing to the Klong Toey market were so huge that their branches reached to the middle of the road, providing much-needed shade for motorists stopped by the red traffic light. In reality the trees are spindly for their age.

  • LIFE

    Standing in the shadows of giants

    B Magazine, Normita Thongtham, Published on 30/08/2015

    » Small is beautiful, but giants are far more awe-inspiring. That I found out during a trip to northern Thailand recently.

  • LIFE

    Chasing waterfalls

    B Magazine, Normita Thongtham, Published on 23/08/2015

    » It was only 3.30pm but with rain threatening to fall at any time, darkness descended fast on Lam Nam Kok National Park in Doi Hang, Chiang Rai province. It had rained the night before and parts of the trail were slippery. One false move could easily send someone rolling down the steep mountainside to the point of no return.

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