Plumeria, named after the French botanist Charles Plumier, is known all over the world as the pagoda flower or the wat flower. In Thailand, it is known as the Lanthom. This flower is also known as Frangipani after the 16th Century Italian Marquis and perfumer M.Frangipani.
The two main species are Plumeria Rubra and Plumeria Alba. At last count, it had as many as 184 varieties or cultivars.It is known as the Lei flower in Hawaii.The plant is hardy and can survive in dry conditions. At times the whole tree is decked with flowers when all the desiduous leaves are shed. Plumeria can also be grown in vases.
Known as Dok Champa in Laos, Plumeria happens to be the Lao National flower. In a Lao Magazine I found this beautiful Thai Poem:
Dok yoo khai kho chai mai soi long
Praw prasong champa maa chai gan
Muean khon dee yoo tee nai, khai phun sen
Kho mai when khon tam tham khao saan
Khun Tee Tum Mo’s translation runs like this:
Those blooms out of reach will be gathered by sticks
For Dok Champa are so useful
Alike good people though miles away
Will be sought after by many
The metaphor of out of reach flowers with “good people miles away”, seems very appropriate. I hope fellow bloggers in Thailand would post beautiful images of this tree.
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