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  • 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

    All I need is the air that I breathe

    B Magazine, Normita Thongtham, Published on 20/11/2016

    » 'Please introduce air plant farms in the Bangkok area," an email I received recently requested. I am sure there are hobbyists growing air plants in their gardens or balconies, but because of high land prices, I doubt it if there are plant nurseries in Bangkok. Be that as it may, I went to my favourite haunt, the Chatuchak midweek market, last Wednesday to ask around.

  • LIFE

    Oasis in the concrete jungle

    B Magazine, Normita Thongtham, Published on 30/10/2016

    » It rained hard in the wee hours of the morning that day I went to King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital two weeks ago. As I walked past the Department of Laboratory Medicine building, a sudden burst of sound filled the air. I stopped to look and listen, and was mesmerised by what I saw.

  • 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

    No slacking off in hunt for salak

    B Magazine, Normita Thongtham, Published on 14/08/2016

    » Roy Cruise sent me an email asking where to find chempedak (Artocarpus integer), salak (Salacca zalacca) and gandaria (Bouea macrophylla) in Thailand. A friend of his in Cavite, Philippines, had asked him to look for the said fruit trees but he has not been able to find them in Mae Hong Son, where he lives. "I was wondering if you had any idea where I may find them?" he asked.

  • LIFE

    Let the sunshine in

    B Magazine, Normita Thongtham, Published on 02/10/2016

    » A Filipino friend of mine who lives in the US was enamoured with a plant he saw on Facebook. It was rather expensive but he bought it anyway. The seller was in the Philippines so he had it delivered to his sister, with whom he stays during his visits home.

  • LIFE

    Jack of all fruits

    B Magazine, Normita Thongtham, Published on 09/10/2016

    » The world population was listed at one billion in 1804. Statistics show that 123 years passed before it reached two billion in 1927, but it took only 33 years to hit the three billion mark in 1960. From then on it rose by leaps and bounds, taking only 14 years to reach four billion in 1974 and 13 years to rise to five billion in 1987. I still remember reading about the world population reaching six billion in 1999. It now stands at 7.5 billion, and it took only 17 years to reach that number.

  • LIFE

    Clearing the air

    B Magazine, Normita Thongtham, Published on 18/09/2016

    » I posted a photo of a plant on Facebook and was pleased with the interest that it aroused among some friends. "What is it?" several asked. "Is it aloe vera? Is it malunggay [maroom in Thai]?"

  • LIFE

    Sparing some expense

    B Magazine, Normita Thongtham, Published on 21/08/2016

    » When my now adult children were in primary school, bananas were so cheap that we fed kluay namwa to our pet birds. My late father, who was visiting from the Philippines, made it his duty to feed the birds while my husband and I were at work and the children were in school.

  • 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.

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