The leaves of the orchid Malaxis calophylla
(Orchidaceae) are quite decorative.
Most people go to Doi Inthanon during November-January when the weather is
cool, or in February to admire the Rhododendron blossom or in March-April to
admire birds and Dendrobium orchid blossom.
But now, in the green season, although the long trail at 2100 m is closed
between June and October due to falling branches, the two short board walks
on and near the summit are open. We walked in a mysterious mist where
mosses, clubmosses, mushrooms, lichens and orchids thrived in the humidity.
We saw two fairy orchids (Oberonia spp) in blossom and by the HQ halfway up
we also saw the orchid Dendrobium venustum in blossom. At one spot we saw
male flowers of the parasitic plant Balanophora fungosa. Two bolete
mushrooms, similar to the king bolete (Boletus edulis), were also found
along the Akha trail. The red lipstick flower Aeschynanthus radicans
(Gesneriaceae) decorated the ancient and twisted trees on the summit.
Another lipstick flower (A. speciosus?) had orange blossom with brown
stripes, and this plant trailed up on the Pinus kesiya pines a few hundred
meters below the summit.
Just above the chedis we experienced strong winds and rain but we endured
and admired fruits of the orchid Dendrobium infundibulum and everywhere
abundant budding fairy orchids. Some wild bananas kindly provided fruits
full of hard and black seeds, quite different from their domesticated
A hotspot for mushrooms is within the pine belt near the Sirithan waterfall.
We saw the orange false truffle Mycoamaranthus cambodgensis, the ice cream
cone-like Gomphus floccosus, the lactating Lactarius scrobiculatus s.lat.
and many more. At one place we simply made our way into an anonymous-looking
roadside jungle, originally looking for terrestrial Habenaria orchids. We
found none, but instead we found an abundance of beautiful and
fruit-producing Malaxis calophylla orchids. This orchid displays its upside
down flowers in June, but the striking leaves can be admired for a long
time. We also saw the leaves of a Spathoglottis orchid and a few more
hitherto unidentified terrestrial orchid leaves.
Now and then we were interrupted by rain, but with the backpack under the
raincoat it was fine. Good hiking boots are necessary due to slippery
trails, and a sweater would have been nice.