Connect with us

Thai Life

E is for ericas and eucalypts – Phuket Gardening

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Published 

 on 

E is for ericas and eucalypts – Phuket Gardening | Thaiger

PHUKET: There are plenty of plants which names begin with the letter “E” but none that can rival the 2,000 strong euphorbia family. So large is the genus that that one unheralded member completely slipped through the net last week.

Naturalized here, E. cotonifolia bears absolutely no resemblance to the exotic crown of thorns, or even to the brilliant yellow spurges of cooler climes. Instead, it has conventional reddish leaves which can become a brilliant crimson in the right conditions, namely, in full sun.

Slender-stemmed and multi-branched from the base, it will tolerate poor soils and even shade, though in such conditions the foliage will remain a dull greenish purple. An ideal plant for bare spaces where little else will grow. One of the first plants to colonize waste land, it is a real toughie and easily propagated from cuttings.

Some ericas or heathers are also pressed into service as border or bedding plants. Most varieties such as carnea or alpine heath, ciliaris or Dorset heath and cinerea or bell heather are generally found growing wild on temperate heathland, providing impenetrable cover for ground-loving birds such as grouse.

Often replaced here as a dense low growing border or rockery plant by easier to grow cuphea or false heather, there are nonetheless South African or Australian natives which will thrive in Phuket.

For example, E. densifolia, an unusual South African variety, has tiny green leaves and spikes of tubular red flowers whereas E. australis which actually, hails from Spain and Portugal, has an upright, spire-like habit and can reach three meters in height. Most ericas are characterized by tiny narrow leaves and pink, white or red tubular flowers; almost all require an acid, peaty or neutral soil.

Altogether more tropical in appearance is the torch ginger or etlingera. For a long time, I marveled at these heavy cone-like red blooms atop thick ram-rod straight stems which appeared as cut flowers in local markets. They look even more impressive in their natural surroundings, extravagant clumps, up to twenty feet across, of huge pointed dark green leaves and fleshy 4-5 foot stalks rising straight from the ground and bearing these cone-like, flaming, waxy inflorescences.

If any plant epitomizes the tropics, this is surely it. Unsurprisingly, its native habitat is the jungles of Malaysia and Indonesia where it thrives on the humus-rich moist soil of the rainforest. If you want to grow etlingera , remember that it will, like all gingers, need organic soil, protection from wind and time to spare. Oh and plenty of space!

I suppose we should allow the eucalyptus a modicum of space. That, unfortunately, is the trouble. Give this tree an inch and it will take a yard. There is a large colony, fully fifty meters tall, of what Australians call “gum trees” at the end of my soi. I can’t imagine they were put there deliberately, since this clump has never been harvested as timber [the trees are notoriously fast growing], though they are planted in Mediterranean climates as roadside trees to provide shade.

Perhaps some public-spirited Thai did just that. But they are a mixed blessing, for though the saplings are pressed into service here for scaffolding, the mature trees syphon up vast quantities of water. In Southern Spain, they have begun to remove them for this very reason.

Eucalypts are nonetheless interesting. The juvenile leaves are often different from the adult ones, broader and more attractive than their seniors. The wood is rich in fragrant oil and the flowers are replete with nectar and include some of the world’s finest honey plants.

Perhaps we should try more of the interesting ornamental varieties in Thailand: for example, E. alba which has beautiful smooth white bark, E. blakelyi which has ornamenta l value with showy clusters of whitish flowers, or E. cicerea or cordata, both of which possess silvery-gray foliage. There are 700 species to choose from and they will all grow here. Spoiled for choice.

Tip of the week – Pollination of your plants

You may have shrubs or trees which are not yielding fruit. There may be many reasons for this lack. All conventional plants need to be pollinated to bear crops. This can be achieved by self-pollination, a process whereby pollen from the stamen (the male part) is transferred to the pistil (the female part). Often this transfer takes place in the same flower: for example with tomatoes, egg plants, peas and beans.

With many plants, cross-pollination, known as allogamy, is essential, so pollen from one plant is transferred to another of the same species in the vicinity. Cross-pollination, which often produces stronger offspring, requires the assistance of (mainly) insects. Bees are the most important bio-pollinators, but butterflies, beetles, hawk-moths and flies also contribute importantly to this exchange.

In California, 1,000,000 bee-hives are moved into the almond groves every season to ensure the flowers are fertilized.


If you have a question, or a garden that you would like featured, you can email Patrick Campbell here.

Keep checking our online Phuket Lifestyle pages, follow us on Twitter @phuketgazette or join our Facebook fan page for regular gardening features and tips.

— Patrick Campbell

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Entertainment

Sex toys popular in Thailand despite conservative laws

Avatar

Published

on

Sex toys popular in Thailand despite conservative laws | Thaiger
PHOTO: In Thailand, sex toys are very popular and very illegal.

While Thailand is a conservative country with conservative laws, the underground sex trade and sex toy economy is a thriving not-so-well-kept secret. Thailand is famous for its LGBTQ acceptance and red-light districts, but many don’t realise that most drugs, gambling, soliciting for prostitution, sex toys, and even vaping are against Thai law.

The customs department confiscated more than 4000 sex toys just last year, and owning or selling these toys carries a 60,000 baht fine or up to 3 years in jail. The strict laws are in place to align with the traditional Buddhist Thai society but seem very contrary to the underground sex industry Thailand is known for.

The need for sexual privacy rights and relaxed laws governing sex has been gaining popularity for years with the juxtaposition of strict laws and hedonism creating a very profitable black market. Bangkok’s red-light district is estimated to be worth US $6.4 billion, and in districts like Soi Cowboy, Nana, Patpong and Silom, sex trade and sex toys are sold openly even though it violates the law. The sex industry is thought to comprise up to 10% of Thailand’s gross domestic product. Then there’s Walking Street in Pattaya, Bangla Road in Phuket, etc, etc.

Still, Thailand is a Buddhist country with traditionally conservative values so laws are unlikely to change anytime soon. Even sex education in Thailand is geared towards the negative consequences of sex and not open to sexual rights or embracing sexuality, according to a UNICEF report in 2016. Those who oppose decriminalising sex toys and the sex industry believe that embracing it legally would lead to a rash of sex-related crimes.

Others argue that decriminalisation would be liberating and empower women by reducing the stigma of being sexually free. It would allow a modernized view on sexual well-being. It would also likely reduce teen pregnancy rates, by removing the negativity towards those who need or use contraceptive.

Nisarat Jongwisan has been fighting for the destigmatisation and legalisation of sex toys since 2018 when she appeared on a TV program speaking out against the Ministry of Culture. She now intends to use the Thai parliamentary mechanism for creating a petition and gathering 50,000 signatures, which would allow her to submit a bill to the parliament for a vote.

With strict laws, the black market will continue to grow. While sex toys and the sex trade can be criminalized, sexual desires are not easily quashed, and people will find ways to satisfy them. Without any regulation, black markets can profit freely, selling sex toys with no concern over fair pricing or quality control. The global sex toy industry sold nearly US $34 billion dollars last year, and with continued lockdown and the closures of entertainment venues, these sales are set to only increase, even in the face of Thailand’s conservative laws.

SOURCE: Vice

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates

Continue Reading

Thai Life

“Mommy, there’s a snake!” – Expat in Phuket shares her story

Thaiger

Published

on

By

“Mommy, there’s a snake!” – Expat in Phuket shares her story | Thaiger
Pope's pit viper / Stock photo by Thai National Parks via Flickr

The following story was written by Amy Sukwan, an American who has been living in Thailand for 7 years.

To share a story with The Thaiger, click HERE.

“Mommy, there’s a snake!” my 8 year old daughter Eliza said, waking me up in the middle of the night.

I came out of our modest bungalow in Phuket at some unholy hour in the middle of the night, to see what my daughter’s whole “snake” thing was about. In the light of our front porch light, about 3 metres from our front door, 3 of our cats were surrounding something that looked at first to me to be a stack of rotting bananas.

“Eliza it’s nothing.” I tried to assure my daughter. Right at that moment the rotting bananas rose up into an aggressive posture as 3 cats circled it, hissing viciously. It was a surreal sight in the porch light.

“Mommy can you kill it!” My daughter begged me, as the thing, about four feet or over a meter long, lashed at one of our cats, who was quick enough to jump away. The snake had a big head that I could see in the porch light. It was distinctively mallet shaped, in what I was pretty sure was the viper class.

As much as I wanted to go back to sleep and pretend that this was all a bad nightmare, I now had a crying, frantic daughter who was terrified for her cats and a situation that I was quickly recognizing was pretty bad. Mai dee.

I needed to call in backup – my Thai husband. Eliza was already screaming his name. “Ka! Loon Ka!” My 8 year old screamed.


There are many venomous snakes in Thailand. Most people know about cobras but the viper class is the most deadly in the world, as vipers are both unpredictable and very difficult to charm. I was looking at a pit viper of some sort, I was pretty sure.

Snakes normally don’t bother you if you don’t bother them. But interactions are most common late in the dry season in Thailand, as it is now, in late March, as the snakes slither around houses in search of water. Thais don’t want them around for obvious reasons. You don’t want venomous snakes to breed and make babies close to your homestead.

If you are not sure if a snake is venomous or not, a good rule of thumb is to look at its head size in proportion to its body size. If the snake head is close to the same size as the rest of its body, and the snake is generally more wormlike in appearance, it is probably not venomous. If the head is large, say two or more times the diameter of the body, it might be poisonous. This does not constitute medical advice. If you get bitten by a snake, you should go to the hospital.


My husband woke up as Eliza was screaming for him. He came out groggily but as soon as my daughter pointed at the snake he saw the problem. “No good! I kill!” Ka said as he grabbed a machete from our kitchen rack. He wasted no time in coming to this decision.

So after being bathed in the surreal sight of three cats circling a hissing, striking, and very likely deadly serpent under our porch light, I got to be treated to an even weirder view. Ka went full Steve Irwin on the snake as he danced around with the machete. The viper sideswiped and tried to strike him. Then, it suddenly backlashed and made contact with his knee. Both me and Eliza cried out from the sidelines.

“She bit me!” Ka said as he macheted the viper’s mid body, and then its neck. Among my many shortcomings is a complete inability to gender snakes. So I will remain with my husband’s classification of the viper as female.

The snake stilled over the course of several minutes as my eight year old screamed in terror. It still seemed to be wiggling even five minutes later, though its body slowly stilled. Ka helped me put it in a plastic bag.

“You go hospital now!” I screamed at him.

“No worries. She don’t bite me with poison.” Ka seemed sure of this. He’d grown up on a 50 rai spread of backwoods in Phuket and was something of a designated snake killer.

My husband had tracked and killed a 5 foot long snake months before, which he had assured me had no poison, but which he had not wanted around the house. I was able to identify that one through Google images and a snake discussion group as an Indochinese Rat snake, which was indeed not venomous.

There was only one bite mark on his knee the viper had come in from an unusual angle and only one fang had punctured through. But I could see from closer inspection of the now dead snake what I had already known. It looked like a dark green Pit Viper. She was about 4 feet long, or maybe 130 centimetres. The poor girl had probably been looking for water.

Symptoms of a poisonous snake bite include pain at the site, swelling, and changes in heart rate or breathing. Needless to say Ka is still alive and well, and probably had enough experiences of snakes to know that this was a dry bite, or one without venom, as about 50% of snake bites are. I wouldn’t have taken my chances on this, though.

The reason that poisonous baby snakes are thought to be more deadly is not because they have more venom, but because they always release venom when they do bite. I prayed in Buddhist style for the snake to have a better life next time, as she had made merit by not killing either our cats or my husband. But for the amateurs out there, I wouldn’t advise going to Steve Irwin about these things. Normally snakes bite you because you bother them.


It turns out that sometimes you chase the story. And sometimes the story chases you.

I’d seen a recent post on The Thaiger asking for guest bloggers to share their stories regarding Thailand. I think I laughed out loud on reading it. After 7 years in the “Land of Smiles,” with 2 Thai husbands and after giving birth to 2 children here, I’d like to think I’ve seen it all. I probably have 10,000 stories.

But what do I want to write about? Should I mention my early days as a farang in Thailand, during the time when I was working as an OPC for a timeshare? Do I want to give advice on making visas, as an American staying in Thailand or for a Thai going to America? Should I talk about going to Thai hospitals? Or maybe I should write something about Thai Buddhist funeral proceedings? I’ve put my first husband and both my mother and father in law in the ground at Wat Prathong. Should I talk about ASQ and travelling during Covid madness? Or should I mention the Full Moon Party on Koh Pha Ngan? I’ve been to five of those, personally.

This weekend I was harvesting cashew fruit with a Thai friend of ours in Phuket who has a large spread of family land. We burnt the cashew nuts, and I thought that this would make a great story, as many farang ask me about growing and harvesting practices in my little outback area. Unfortunately a quick Google search revealed that cashew nuts are dangerous, even to people without allergies, as they contain a chemical close to poison ivy. Only professional processors should deal with cashew nuts, in short. I’ve been eating the fruit and burning the nuts for years. But I gathered that life is too dangerous. So much for that story.

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates

Continue Reading

Food Scene

Thai Airways food landing in 7-Eleven next month

Avatar

Published

on

Thai Airways food landing in 7-Eleven next month | Thaiger
PHOTO: Yum yum, it's airline food 'on the go'

Warning. Some low-altitude turbulence is coming to a 7-Eleven near you. Thai Airways has cooked up a new money-making scheme during Covid-19 to sell its airline food in 7-Eleven. Set to take off on April 15, the mostly grounded and indebted airline will attempt to offset its losses during the pandemic by selling food in the ubiquitous convenience store and other supermarkets throughout Thailand.

It’s a clever strategy for a struggling company, but will customers take the bite? Surely a few crispy pork and rice dishes will knock the edge of that 300 billion baht debt!

Claiming that their busy flight schedule has always previously stood in the way of the airline’s foray into the fast food market, Thai Airways now has the supply (and time) with most flights grounded by the pandemic’s decimation of the travel industry and less hungry mouths to feed in the sky.

The first meals schedule to arrive on the shelves of 7-Eleven just after the Songkran holiday are Thai Airways’ halal chicken biryani dish, and the traditional Thai dish nam phrik long ruea, crispy and fluffy fish and sweet pork served in a fermented shrimp chilli paste. The primary push into the food industry will be more unusual meals to stand out in 7-Eleven’s selection.

The question remains whether the food selection will fly off the shelves, but the airline’s hopes are high after their airline launched pop-up restaurants in September and the public ate it up. It seems that, contrary to a million stand-up comedy jokes about how terrible airline food is, people have really missed it with so much cancelled travel due to border closures and restrictions.

Thai Airways hopes this creative departure from their main business will help bolster the struggling airline, who were previously denied a government bailout after declaring bankruptcy last year. They have tried everything from the pop-up restaurants to jumbo yard sales to renting out flight simulators. Even with the sharp reduction of flights due to the pandemic, flying will still be the company’s main mealticket, but they hope meal sales will make up for low ticket sales until the travel industry recovers.

So stow your tray table and fasten your seat belt as we see if the 7-Eleven offerings of Thai Airways’ food takes off.

(The Thaiger has a better solution. Let 7-Eleven lease Thai Airway’s grounded planes and run the whole business instead)

SOURCE: Coconuts Bangkok

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates

Continue Reading
Suspected insurgent shot and killed by rangers after bomb attack in Narathiwat | Thaiger
Insurgency33 mins ago

Suspected insurgent shot and killed by rangers after bomb attack in Narathiwat

PM Prayut will skip ASEAN summit addressing Myanmar situation, says he needs to deal with Covid situation | Thaiger
Thailand34 mins ago

PM Prayut will skip ASEAN summit addressing Myanmar situation, says he needs to deal with Covid situation

Covid UPDATE: 2,070 new infections, provincial totals | Thaiger
Coronavirus (Covid-19)1 hour ago

Covid UPDATE: 2,070 new infections, provincial totals

Buddhism officials call on temples to cremate those who die while infected with Covid-19 | Thaiger
Thailand1 hour ago

Buddhism officials call on temples to cremate those who die while infected with Covid-19

Fake Pfizer vaccines seized in Mexico and Poland | Thaiger
Coronavirus (Covid-19)1 hour ago

Fake Pfizer vaccines seized in Mexico and Poland

Briton stranded in Thai hospital after balcony fall appealing to return home | Thaiger
Thailand2 hours ago

Briton stranded in Thai hospital after balcony fall appealing to return home

6 cats up for auction after owners in drug raid, proceeds go to Narcotics Control Fund | Thaiger
Thailand2 hours ago

6 cats up for auction after owners in drug raid, proceeds go to Narcotics Control Fund

COVID UPDATE: Highest daily case count recorded in Thailand at 2,070 | Thaiger
Coronavirus (Covid-19)3 hours ago

COVID UPDATE: Highest daily case count recorded in Thailand at 2,070

Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health to give traditional herbal medicine for mild Covid symptoms | Thaiger
Coronavirus (Covid-19)3 hours ago

Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health to give traditional herbal medicine for mild Covid symptoms

Koh Kood closed from today until May 1 after 2 hotel employees contract Covid | Thaiger
Coronavirus (Covid-19)3 hours ago

Koh Kood closed from today until May 1 after 2 hotel employees contract Covid

Thai chef pleads for justice after child kills her cat in New York park | Thaiger
World4 hours ago

Thai chef pleads for justice after child kills her cat in New York park

Search continues for missing Indonesian submarine with 53 crew on board | Thaiger
Indonesia5 hours ago

Search continues for missing Indonesian submarine with 53 crew on board

Tourism officials revise revenue forecast, insist Phuket will re-open on schedule | Thaiger
Tourism5 hours ago

Tourism officials revise revenue forecast, insist Phuket will re-open on schedule

Thai Immigration says online system for 90 day reports is back up and running | Thaiger
Visa6 hours ago

Thai Immigration says online system for 90 day reports is back up and running

Covid-19 screening kicks off at Phuket arrival points | Thaiger
Phuket6 hours ago

Covid-19 screening kicks off at Phuket arrival points

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4 | Thaiger
Thailand2 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO | Thaiger
Tourism2 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2 | Thaiger
Phuket2 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO | Thaiger
Tourism2 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23 | Thaiger
Thailand2 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO | Thaiger
Tourism2 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21 | Thaiger
Thailand3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19 | Thaiger
Thailand3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18 | Thaiger
Thailand3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15 | Thaiger
Thailand3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14 | Thaiger
Thailand3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13 | Thaiger
Thailand3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12 | Thaiger
Thailand3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11 | Thaiger
Thailand3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8 | Thaiger
Thailand3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8

Follow Thaiger by email:

Trending