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BEAUTIFUL FLOWERS - To See in Chiang Mai

BEAUTIFUL FLOWERS

   It is that time of the year when the city of Chiang Mai blooms with flowers. With its tropical climate, Thailand is home to a wide variety of flowers, including orchids, Thai lotus, tacca chantrieri, rhizomatous perennial, and hidden lily. Some popular flowers that are grown in Chiang Mai include orange trumpet, hibiscus, crinium, weeping lantana, and canna lily.

   Chiang Mai is also known as "The Rose of the North" because of its array of beautiful flowers. Many rare species of plants thrive along nature trails in the mountains, while others can be seen within the city walls. If you are a flower lover, read the story behind some of the most common flowers that you can see during your visit to northern Thailand.

   And if you are a flower lover, it is the perfect place to visit. With its wide variety of flowers and beautiful scenery, Chiang Mai is a true flower lover's paradise.


Zingiber Spectabilis

   Zingiber spectabile, commonly known as Beehive Ginger, is a clumping herbaceous plant native to mainland Southeast Asia, including Thailand and Malaysia. The scientific name of the species, zingiber spectabile, comes from two words: "Zingiber" comes from a sanskrit word meaning "shaped like a horn; and "spectabile" is derived from the latin spectabilis, meaning "spectacular". Apart from Beehive Ginger it is also known as Black Gingerwort, Champagne Beehive, Malaysian Ginger and Ginger Wort. In South-East Asia, it is used as medicinal herb.


Heliconia Rostrata

   Tropical flowers are renowned for their stunning beauty and diversity, and heliconia rostrata is no exception, with its large brightly hued bracts that cluster up a stem.

   There are about forty different species of heliconia. The leaves of this plant are paddle-shaped and they are related to the banana family. Heliconias are sometimes called "lobster claws" or "parrot flowers" because of their beak-like "bracts" which can be orange, purple, red, yellow, pink, green or a combination of these. A bract is a leaf structure at the base of a flower. The heliconia's flowers are tiny and found inside these bracts, which are so large and colorful that they almost hide the flower. This keeps the flower's sweet nectar tucked away so that only specialized birds can get to it. Some species of heliconia have upright facing flowers and in some called hanging heliconia, the flowers dangle down from the main stem.


Lotus

   Perhaps one of the most popular flowers in Thailand, since this plant is a symbol of purity and innocence in Buddhism, lotus flowers are used as offerings in Buddhist temples and  shrines. Originating sometimes in dirty and muddy water, the lotus is considered a pure and untainted flower. It is a symbol often portrayed in the applied arts of Thailand.

   Apart from its flowers which are used as offerings, the lotus plant is useful in several other ways - the petals, stamens and roots of certain varieties have medicinal values. They are the major ingredients of various recipes prescribed by traditional herbalists. Almost every part of the lotus is edible: dried seeds boiled in syrup, sometimes with crushed ice, is a popular sweet; its root, cut into thin slices and boiled with pork ribs, is a delicious soup; the crisp young leaf and the long fleshy stem of the bua sai are also made into different tasty dishes; even the large leaf, which is too tough to eat, is sometimes used to wrap rice which, when steamed, absorbs the subtle aroma of the leaf.


February 2024.

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