The Phuket News Premier League predictions The Phuket News Kata Rocks The Phuket News
The Phuket News Phuket Environment
The Phuket News Arts | Community | Culture | Dining | Education | Phuket Entertainment | Environment | Health | People | Technology | Travel | World Entertainment XML, RSS, Feed
The Phuket News The Phuket News
The Phuket News

Green Thoughts: What’s in a name?

Most tongue-twisting Latin names of plants are associated with so-called “discoveries” by Western botanist or explorers: the Bougainvillea is named after Monsieur Bougainville; the golden trumpet or Allamanda after Switzerland’s Frederich Allamanda.


Patrick Campbell

Sunday 11 February 2018, 10:00AM


So too this week’s subject : the Frangipani – renamed the Plumeria after Charles Plumier, another intrepid Frenchman. The original classifier of plants, Sweden’s Carl Linnaeus, based his Systema Naturae on shared physical characteristics. Not always reliable, most of his groupings have nonetheless stood the test of time. But to this day, Western botanists love rechristening plants and altering the orders, families or genera to which they belong.

Not so plant names in Phuket’s plant nurseries. With few exceptions, these carry the same oral monikers used by generations of Thais, names which in many cases have still not appeared in gardening books. One exception is the Plumeria, which has changed not only its botanical name but also its Thai one – from lantom to leelawadee. Why? Because lantom is a sad word, associated in the superstitious Thai imagination with Buddhist cremation grounds and Muslim cemeteries. In contrast, leelawadee is appropriately graceful and upbeat.

Of course the Plumeria is always one of the first name on anyone’s list of desirable garden plants. Its glory? The waxy, five-petalled flowers that burst forth from slender branch ends. Arranged in an attractive propeller-shaped form, they carry the most intense fragrance, especially at dusk, when the blooms attract the sphinx moths that seek to pollinate them. Traditionally used in Hawaiian garlands, floating individual blooms are used in Phuket’s spas to scent and decorate water-filled bowls and containers.

Related to the Nerium oleander, it shares with its cousin the same poisonous, milky sap which oozes immediately from any cut or broken branch. There the resemblance ends, for the Plumeria’s young growth is round, green and soft (hence the Australian name of dead man’s finger), only later turning to familiar woody grey branches.

The shrub – more properly a small tree – has a very open, rounded crown and the clusters of flowers generally appear before the new crop of foliage. As a result, the Plumeria is a good choice for the mixed border or as an ornamental lawn specimen; it does not become dense and bushy and so will not deprive low-growing neighbours of sunshine and space. Plenty of light and air will filter through to smaller shrubs and annuals. And the root system is compact. So it will tolerate a large container, though personally I prefer to give the Plumeria the freedom of an open situation where it can attain a height of about twenty feet.

Plumerias are one of the easiest shrubs to grow here. For a start they are not fussy about soil, and prefer full sun. And because Phuket gets so much sunshine, they will do well in filtered shade. The one thing they dislike, in common with most members of the apocynaceae clan, is wet, cold soil or deep shade. In drought conditions, they will discard leaves but survive without a fuss. A true tropical.

Though there are at least four distinct species, most popular cultivars derive from either Plumeria rubra or obtusa. From the West Indies, obtusa has large leaves, with rounded or blunt tips. Typically the sweet scented flowers are creamy white with a yellow centre. Dwarf Singapore Pink is a popular hybrid on account of its relatively compact habit and profuse flowering patterns. Singapore White is a vigorous white-flowering cultivar.

Most varieties derive from Plumeria rubra, originally from Central America. Larger than those of obtusa, the leaves, shiny with pointed tips, are often over a foot long. Many cultivars are grown in the tropics, especially in Hawaii and Phuket, but there is little consistency about names. What’s new! However, the range of colours is extensive, with hues ranging from snowy “Bridal White” through yellow “Celandine”, to the rich crimson hues of “Dark Red”. There is even a spectacular variety called “‘Rainbow” which had deep pink buds, and peach coloured petals which shade to yellow at the centre. With hybridization has come larger clusters of blooms and lusher foliage as well as a greater range of sizes. Dwarf forms are particularly suitable for the smaller garden or terrace.

The Plumeria deserves its place near the top of the pile – for both its visual and olfactory appeal. It will take readily from cuttings (which should be placed in barely moist soil) and, once started, will prove a low-maintenance addition to your garden. The only real drawback is that it has a period of dormancy when the leaves tend to discolour and fall. And it is susceptible to a disease called rust which attacks the underside of leaves and creates powdery brownish lesions, makes the foliage look unattractive. But it’s a small price to pay for a top shrub.

 

Patrick has been writing for ten years about gardening in Phuket and allied topics. If you have horticultural or environmental concerns, please contact him at drpaccampbelll@gmail.com. Many of his earlier creative and academic publications can be found at Wordpress: Green Galoshes.

 

 

The Phuket News
The Phuket News
Comment on this story
* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.
Comments Here:

Comments Left: Characters
Username:
Password:
E-mail: (No Hotmail, Live, MSN and Outlook accepted at this time)
Security:
   => Forget password?

Be the first to comment.

The Phuket News
The Phuket News The Phuket News The Phuket News
The Phuket News
Share this
The Phuket News
Have a news tip-off? Click here
The Phuket News
Related stories
The Phuket News
Phuket community

Recent Comments


Google begins blocking annoying ads on its browser

Now who on earth would ever put 'auto-play' videos on their website? With the same advert for noise cancelling head-phones popping up on every...(Read More)


Phuket Opinion: Patong, you’re swimming in it

Excellent article. Along with traffic, Maya Bay & marine life damage; and all the other infrastructure issues, this is a direct result of TAT’s ...(Read More)


Phuket Gov urges stricter enforcement of tourist bus safety measures

"Phuket has many tour buses". Actually no, increasingly buses on our roads are registered in other provinces. Maybe there's a link betwe...(Read More)


Phuket Opinion: Patong, you’re swimming in it

Independant tests of the water quality should be posted daily on every beach....(Read More)


Phuket Opinion: Patong, you’re swimming in it

Thank you PN for cutting to the chase. This problem is not only a Patong problem, but is a Phuket problem. Anyone wanting to swim at the south ends of...(Read More)


Phuket officials confirm new medical certificates required for driving licences

How do I fill in a form I can't read? Renewals did not require a medical form in the past....(Read More)


Phuket Governor urges stricter enforcement of coral protection measures

Ahh- those naughty tourists at it again. They are at the heart of all the problems in Thailand (other than those that can be blamed on the naughty Bur...(Read More)


Phuket Gov urges stricter enforcement of tourist bus safety measures

Blad di blah di blah. This article could have been much shorter. "The Governor met with a bunch of do-nothings to act like they are doing someth...(Read More)


Phuket Governor urges stricter enforcement of coral protection measures

The root cause of much of the damage is simply too many boats and tour operators, with nobody there to manage, monitor or oversee their actions. Most ...(Read More)


Phuket Gov urges stricter enforcement of tourist bus safety measures

Easy catch for the officers : morning from 7AM, afternoon 4 PM, at the 7/11 shop at Soi Yamu, Paklohk., heading pier. At least 40 buses every day....(Read More)

The Phuket News
PHUKET NEWS
Phuket
Thailand
World
Business
Q A
Weird World
ARCHIVE
POLL
CURRENCY
WEATHER
PHUKET TIDE TABLE
The Phuket News PHUKET LIFE
Phuket Arts
Phuket Community
Phuket Culture
Phuket Dining
Phuket Education
Phuket Entertainment
Phuket Environment
Phuket Health
Phuket People
Phuket Technology
Phuket Travel
World Entertainment
Photo Galleries
The Phuket News PHUKET SPORT
Phuket
Thailand
World
SURF REPORT
PREDICTIONS
The Phuket News PHUKET CLASSIFIEDS
Phuket Buy and Sell
Phuket Jobs
Phuket Property
Phuket Cars and Boats
Phuket Community
Phuket Services
SEARCH CLASSIFIEDS
POST CLASSIFIED
The Phuket News The Phuket News PHUKET EVENTS
Phuket Event listings
Phuket Event calendar
Buy Tickets
POST EVENT
The Phuket News PHUKET DIRECTORY
Phuket Bars, pubs and clubs
Phuket Hotels and villas
Phuket Restaurants
Phuket Yellow Pages
POST LISTING
The Phuket News BARGAINS
The Phuket News ABOUT US
The Company
Distribution points
Subscribe
Advertise with us
Pay for advert
Contact us
CONTESTS
Content Google Map
Site map
Australian Visa Services
 
Currency - The Phuket News   Weather Report - The Phuket News   Surf Report - The Phuket News
LinkedIn - The Phuket News   Twitter - The Phuket News   YouTube - The Phuket News   Facebook - The Phuket News
Copyright © 2018 Class Act Media. All rights reserved. | Website usage terms and conditions | Privacy and Confidentiality Statement.