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Vol. XIII No.9 - Sunday May 4, 2014 - Saturday May 17, 2014

Arts - Entertainment
Life at 33 1/3
Ask Emma
Book Review
Bridge in Paradise
Business - Travel - Tourism
Animal Welfare
Care for Dogs
Community Happenings
Doctor's Consultation
Dining Out & Recipes
Life in Chiang Mai
Mail Bag
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On the Grapevine
Quirky Pics
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Daily Horoscope
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Update by Saichon Paewsoongnern

How does your garden grow?  
By Eric Danell, Dokmai Garden


Instead of a Rhododendron

The Malabar black mouth is in eternal blossom if watered and fed with grass cuttings.

Many foreign settlers here in Chiang Mai in northern Thailand wish to grow Rhododendron (Ericaceae) like at home. Although there are wild Rhododendron in Thailand, they are high elevation plants (usually above 1500 metres) and will do very poorly here in the hot valley at 300-350 metres.
A nice tropical substitute for some violet Rhododendron is the local native Melastoma malabathricum (Melastomataceae). Both foliage and colour resemble some rhododendrons. Most visitors to Dokmai Garden do not know this plant at all, a minority of the visitors make a qualified guess that this is South American Tibouchina of the same family (Melastomataceae), but Tibouchina have dry capsules while fruits of Melastoma are fleshy. The Asian genus Melastoma is usually lacking in western tropical garden floras. This is probably because modern tropical garden floras are mostly American, and they focus on nearby South American plants.
‘Melastoma’ is Latinized Greek and means ‘black mouth’. This is because the fruits, which taste like raisins, make your tongue black. I hereby dub thee ‘Malabar black mouth’ in English!

HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Instead of a Rhododendron



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