Connect with us

Thai Life

Phuket Gardening: North and South – The biodiversity of Thailand

Published

 on 

PHUKET: Thailand is a large and varied country, especially in terms of its length from north to south (1600 kilometers), and its coastline of 2,600 kilometers. Because of the resulting range of micro-climates, it is able to produce an unending range of flowers, trees and fruit.

Put another way, Thailand’s biodiversity is immense, the country is still the trustee of an extraordinarily rich natural landscape. On a small island such as Phuket, there is both coastal wetlands and tropical forest. And while the wetlands, often the site of mangrove swamps, are being eroded, and the forest, which is a mixture here of rainforest and deciduous woodland, has been degraded by plantations and logging, these habitats still exist.

In the north, there are highlands clad in elevated woodlands, where trees such as teak and rosewood, pine and oak can flourish. Again, most have fallen victim to the commercially wielded chainsaw, but the Kingdom is still home to more than 10,000 species of plants, including over 100 types of wild orchid. Riches indeed.

While much of this floral cornucopia is nation-wide, some plants are limited in their distribution and are associated with different regions of the country. For example, the northern highland provinces can grow cold-climate shrubs such as oolong tea, and other fruits such as plums and strawberries. Doi Chang has been known for its Arabica coffee for decades, in fact, ever since the Doi Wawee Highland Research Center was established on nearly 3,000 rai of land in 1985. I wonder how many people are aware that Thailand is a producer of both major beverages of the world tea and coffee.

Sometimes, I wish that there was more experimentation with plant varieties in the south.

Alright, there is one near insurmountable issue with any plants that need a cold season, or at least a cool period, something that the montane regions of the north are able to provide. I, myself, admit to failing with brugmansias and bird of paradise flowers, both of which thrive in the higher and cooler regions of the north. But there seems to be a reluctance to experiment with plants.

In the case of fruit trees, a prime reason for this is the high cost of arable land. It is, sadly, far more profitable to erect an apartment block than grow orchards of langsart.

However, some species could be commercially viable. Take the avocado. It grows extremely well in Phuket. I have two in my garden and I know of one expat here who loves the fruit so much he has more than 30 in his patch. Another friend has one mature tree that crops regularly twice a year. Yet visit the average supermarket and you will pay the earth for imported huss avocadoes.

In the case of many fruit, they tend to be cultivated in specific areas. For example, the langsart (lansium) is grown extensively in Uttaradit province Or, they are simply too big for the average garden. Mangoes, sataws, mangosteens, jack fruit or tamarinds are all liable to get out of hand.

But guavas, pomeloes, rose apples, rambutans and Thai lemons (what we call limes), not to mention papaya and bananas, can all be grown in your garden.

It can be done and to the consequent benefit not only of people, but of birds, bees and butterflies too.

— Patrick Campbell

 

Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

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

Follow Thaiger by email:

Road deaths9 hours ago

UPDATE: Chon Buri police couldn’t find victim of car crash… on the back seat

Protests9 hours ago

‘Democracy Must Go On:’ Protestors have three demands for Thailand’s government

Thailand9 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Opposition to Thailand govt hosting former Sri Lanka president

Sponsored16 hours ago

BKFC THAILAND 3: Moment of truth set for September 3

Bangkok9 hours ago

Bangkok OAP arrested after slapstick armed robbery of gold shop

Phuket10 hours ago

Phuket officials say no human trafficking cases found in island province

Hong Kong11 hours ago

Hong Kong seizes 20 million baht of heroin hidden in Thai kickboxing pads

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Crime11 hours ago

Nigerian and Vietnamese couple found dead linked to drug trade

Thailand11 hours ago

Thailand workers could earn over 100,000 baht in Saudi Arabia

Chon Buri12 hours ago

Mountain B victims to be compensated by Thailand govt

Pattaya13 hours ago

Free noodles for beach cleaners after Pattaya Music Festival mess

Thailand13 hours ago

CCSA to give thumbs up to 4am licensing in Thailand next week

Tourism13 hours ago

Lots of Hong Kongers are searching for flights to Bangkok

Chon Buri15 hours ago

Death toll of Mountain B fire rises to 17

Economy15 hours ago

Bangkok No.1 in Asia-Pacific for MICE destinations

Coronavirus (Covid-19)15 hours ago

Covid-19 “hospitel” isolation in Thailand to end September 1

Thailand11 months ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand1 year ago

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

Tourism1 year ago

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

Phuket1 year ago

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

Tourism1 year ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand1 year ago

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

Tourism1 year ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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

Trending