What Plants Grow in a Tropical Climate?


Tropical climates are found at the equator where the sun shines all year long. Due to this constant exposure to sunlight, plants grow rapidly in these climates and tend to be more diverse because different types of plants can thrive in different parts of the day or night. For example, palm trees grow very well during the daytime but their leaves become active at night so they can convert energy from sunlight into sugar for use by the tree during the cold months.

Below is a list of plants that grow in Tropical climates in South East Asia, the flowering periods mentioned are those observed in the natural habitats.

  • Afzelia xylocarpa, Caesalpiniodeae, grows up to the altitude of 800 m in sites with an intermediate moisture; in addition to the beauty of its reddish flowers ( flowering from March to May ) arranged in numerous branched clusters , the large tree , rarely seen in the forests, ornates some ceremonial places in villages. Rare in the wild.
  • Adenanthera pavonina , Leguminosae , up to 800 m, has yellow to orange flowers from May to June; it is widely cultivated, owing to the nice spike like clusters at leaf axils and the bipinnate leaves; seen in in the wild in intermediate – moist sites.
  • Alangium salvifolium, Alangiaceae , up to 1200 m, is renown for its fragrant flowers
  • Alstonia scholaris grows at any altitude where moisture is intermediate. Cultivation : this ” Devil Tree ” takes its appearance from the beautiful – and devil like – foliage in layers; brown and grayish smooth bark, nice narrowly obovate leaves in regular whorls and white – green flowers in branched clusters. Flowering from October to December with a cool fragrance. Any soil with sand, a moderate moisture and moderate to full sunlight are suitable for a fast growth. It is a very large tree that may not be recommended for home landscaping. Propagate by seeds ( easy ) and cuttings.
  • Aquilaria crassna, Thymelaceae, Eaglewood, up to 1200 m numerous species are identified in South Africa and Australia, 3 species in North Thailand.
  • Ardisia polycephala, Myrsinaceae, up to 800 m in intermediate – moist areas. Flowering in October and November. Very appreciated for its pink flowers in very dense unbranched clusters at axils.
  • Areca triandra, Palmae, up to 1200 and above, ( similar to A. catechu the betel nut palm ), is fragrant; propagation by seeds that cannot be kept long after once they have turned red. After germination ( 30 to 40 days ) they can be transferred in plastic bags under shade. The growth rate is rather fast, from 30 to 80 cm per year. Large pots are better, soil and air must be humid.
  • Azadirachta indica, Meliaceae, round tree with dark green foliage and pretty clusters of small white or slightly yellow flowers. Flowering under 1200 m in February and March in the wild. A. indica var siamensis is the cultivated version : cream flowers in April – May ; grows fast with low maintenance in any soil – even near the seaside – needing low moisture and full light. It has edible young leaves and supplies pesticide components.
  • Baccaurea ramiflora ( sapida ), Euphorbiaceae, up to 1200 m, a medicinal plant cultivated for its edible and sweet fruits.
  • Bauhinia variegata, Leguminosae above 1200. The cultivated plants range from pure white to dark purple and pink, while the wild ones have often white petals with pinkish patches. This plant prefers dry to intermediate sites in any altitude range from sea level. Propagate by seeds from seed cases that have turned brown. Delicately fragrant, blooms all year round at 3 – 5 years old in any well drained soil with full light. For landscape design, it is often planted with B. acuminata and B. tomentosa which have similar leaf shape. Watch red spider mites and borers. B. purpurea, flowering throughout the year; with only three long stamens, is a similar plant from South America; petals are narrower. B. racemosa is less planted in private gardens, perhaps owing to its too small flowers ( 1 – 1.5 cm ) but the bark is nice for its dark grey color and the broad dense crown. B. malabarica grows from 0 to 1200 m, noticeable for its buds club-shaped in short clusters. Beautiful grey – greenish leaves. B. brachycarpa and B. saccocalyx, very rare, are similar to B. malabrica.
    The following species are cultivated : B. aureifolia, which was discovered in Thailand in 1983 : a beautiful climber that needs full light and good humidity. Fragrant in the evening, blooming throughout year. B. integrifolia, from the moist evergreen forests of South Thailand; a strong climber with a good longevity. Propagation by seedlings, cuttings and layering. B. sirindhorniae, is an other strong climber dicovered in Northern Thailand; it has magnificent fire – like dense clusters 10 – 15 cm blooming in August and September. Propagation by seeds and layering. B. winitii : strong and spreading climber with wonderful individual white flowers 10 – 15 cm; half to full light, propagated by seeds and layering. Good branching. Blooms from May to November.
  • Bombax ceiba, Bombaceae; its bright orange flowers ( January and February ) make a short appearance after the older leaves fall. It grows in the wild from 0 to 1200 m. Moisture is intermediate.
  • Ceiba pentandra Bombaceae has nice creamy white flowers and prominent stamens.
  • Bouea oppositifolia ( microphylla ), Anacardiaceae, also called Plum Mango for the shape of its fruits.
  • Buddleja asiatica, Loganiaceae, grows from 0 to above 1200 m in sites with moderate moisture; from October to January, small creamy white flowers in spike-like clusters and bell-shaped calyx. Nice slender leaves. Buddleja paniculata is more often cultivated : it comes in large purple or smaller white flowers blooming with scent all year round in pots; green upper leaf, silver lower leaf; appreciated for its sweet strong fragrance in the morning and the untidy forest – like ambience it creates in a landscape. Does best in sandy and clay soil with organic matter; moisture should be moderate to low, under full to moderate sunlight. Propagation by seeds, but cutting or layering will produce an easy rooting for pots. The foliage being rather dense, fertilize often.
  • Butea monosperma, Leguminosae, ” Bastard Teak “, ” Flame of the Forest ” is a medicinal plant with a high ornamental value owing to its wonderful fire colored flowers in red orange and yellow. Upright form, coarse texture of the light brown trunk. Uncommon in the wild, it grows in the 200 m range in dry – intermediate sites. Flowering is from December to February. Cultivated near the seaside and along the streets with dry soil, it is also popular for public areas and arboretum. It is a choice for landscapes uses : strong and low maintenant, drought , salt and cold tolerant. It must be protected against caterpillars; has a slow growth.
  • Calophyllum inophyllum, Guttiferae : ” Alexandrian Laurel “, a delicately fragrant shady tree with leathery and smooth oblong leaves, dark green on the upper side and creamy – green under; white flowers with big yellow centres in short branched clusters create a handsome crown and foliage; smooth, grayish brown bark. In the wild it grows from 200 to above 1200 m and flowers from April to June. A moist loving plant in its natural habitat. However, as a cultivated plant, its moisture requirement is reported moderate; blooming is from October to December in any soil – it is salt tolerant – and grows well at the seaside or in rocky areas. Spreading root system. It is often seen in ground temples. A good interior plant.
  • Camellia sinensis, Theaceae : found in moist areas above 200 m, this ” Wild Tea ” is noticeable by its rounded pale yellow petals around numerous bright yellow stamen. Flowering from November to January. Propagation : for collecting the leaves to make tea, seedlings will give the best trees, high with a good rooting and broad leaves; if instead the purpose is ornamental, layering will give the best plants in pots with a far reaching scent and a beautiful crown. Unfortunately layering slowers the growth of the plant. C. oleifera is similar with larger flowers ( 5 cm ) and shorter stalks.
  • Cananga latifolia, Annonaceae : in May and June small flowers of 5 cm slightly fragrant in clusters; grows up to the altitude of 800 m in dry – intermediate sites. The broad leaves are circular.
  • Cananga odorata, Annonaceae is more fragrant with petals narrower and longer. Leaves are ovate. Nice bark, smooth and pale brown.
  • Careya arborea, Lecythidaceae, the ” Brazil nut ” : very attractive with its numerous red-purple and white long stamens, almost twice as the petals; the flowers of 6 cm, in clusters at the ends of leafless slender branches have a bell – shaped calyx. These flowers are fragile, opening in the evening and falling the morning. Flowering is from February to April. Suited for low moisture retentive soils up to 800 m.
  • Cassia of the Leguminosae ( Caesalpinioideae ) family is widespread in South East Asia, 6 species being native of Thailand, several others are often cultivated. C. fistula is one of the most spectacular species with golden-yellow flowers exhibiting 3 long stamens of 5 cm in languishing unbranched clusters of 40 cm long. Leaves with oblong leaflets in opposite rows along the stalks. Flowering is from March to May in dry – intermediate areas up to 1200 m.
  • C. garrettiana less planted, found in the wild in the 800 m altitude range with intermediate moisture; bright yellow flowers in narrow clusters at end of twigs.
  • C. siamea ( Senna siamea ) found in the 1200 m range with yellow flowers in untidy branched clusters. Flowering in April and May. Cultivation is easy and fast in any soil with full light and moderate moisture; a good street tree with a spreading crown. Easy to care but must be protected against leaf eating caterpillars and black mold.
  • C. timoriensis in dry – intermediate sites up to 800 m; from September to November dense branched clusters of yellow flowers.
  • C. surattensis: often planted and rather uncommon in the wild, was introduced from America; round spreading crown, bright yellow flowers with one larger stamen, all year round in upright clusters. Very decorative owing to the oval shape of the petals that also have irregular sizes. Cultivation of this ” Scrambled Eggs “is easy, even near the sea as it tolerates strong winds. Good background in a park, good for streets for its low height. Grows fast in any soil with moderate moisture under full day light.
  • C. spectabilis also introduced from America, has been more commonly naturalized. The yellow flowers are noticeable for their lowest petal, larger and curved. Blooming rotates all year round. Tip : spreading crown, fast growth, easy to care in any soil with a moderate moisture and full light , this ” Popcorn Bush ” is good as a street tree.
  • C. alata, from America again, commonly planted and naturalized in moist sites. The yellow bright flowers on short stalks are in spike – like clusters at top of slender branches.
  • C. bakeriana : found in dry – intermediate sites from sea level to 1200 m. this pink – whitish colored Cassia ” Pink shower ” has flowers in unbranched clusters on dark-red stalks. Petals are 4 – 5 cm. One of the most beautiful species of the genus. Found in the wild with flowers from February to May in dry – intermediate sites from sea level to 1200 m. Cultivated in any soil or loam with low moisture; protect from pod borers; with full day sunlight flowers will turn from dark pink to pink and white. The growth rate is moderate, it will bloom at 3 – 8 years old.
  • C.grandis, with dark – red young petals changing into pink and orange – pink with age, blooming in February and March in loam soil with a modeate – low moisture under full sunlight. Foliage is dark green with light brown hairs upper leaf, light green under leaf. Tip : pod borers enjoy this species; the uncommon in the wild and magnificent C. javanica, also introduced, has an irregular crown and sticking thorns – like branches. Foliage turns to dark – red and white. It blooms in April and May. Cultivation in any sandy soil with a moderate moisture under full light. This tree is a choice for shade in lanscapes; the native C. agnes with flowers in branched upright clusters.
  • Catunaregam tomentosa is a Rubiaceae with clusters of white – yellow flowers with corolla like bells and don’t have stalks.
  • C. uliginosa is the cultivated species : its white flowers appear all year round, and more frequently in the rainy season; easy propagation by seeds.
  • Colona floribunda, Tiliaceae is common from sea level to 1200 m in intermediate moisture retention soils where it flowers from August to October. Red – orange flowers of 10 mm in beautiful clusters.
  • Combretum quadrangulare, Combretaceae, : trees planted along roadsides or found as scattered shrubs. Amazing for its densely clustered yellow pale flowers in unbranched spikes with small stalks of 1 mm . Conical calyx, 4 obovate petals with small pointed tips , eight protruding stamens.
  • Crateva magna, Capparidaceae, has wonderful flowers in long – stalked clusters with whitish petals of 8 cm and numerous long protruding pale mauve stamen. A single cluster can have up to 100 flowers. Leaves trifoliate with long leaflets. Flowering from January to April in the 800 m range. This species, common along river banks and wet sites needs a maximal humidity.
    The similar C. religiosa is seen planted in temple grounds. It has less flowers per cluster.
  • Cratoxylum formosum, Hypericaceae : nice delicate pale pink flowers in small clusters on leafless twigs of slender branches. Numerous short yellow stamens. From April to May the open crown will be of a delicate pale pink, setting the dark grey of the bark. In the 1200 m range with low – intermediate moisture. C. cochinchinense is similar with under leaves green – grayish; dark red flowers.
  • Cycas pectinata, Cycadaceae scattered in areas up to 1600 m; these trees can be 12 m high with clusters of 40 leaves ( up to 240 cm ) at their top; they grow only in wet areas up to 1600 m. Oldest trees will branch from their single stem. Similar are the 2 m high C. siamensis with its swollen base and fur – like hairs, found in dry areas under 500 m and C. simplicipinna in moist sites up to 900 m.
  • Dillenia parviflora, Dilleniaceae , a tender bright yellow plant commonly found at any altitude below 1500 m in dry – intermediate sites. Very nice 5 cm flowers from January to March, with 5 rounded distant petals on narrow bases.
  • Dillenia pentagyna : an other beautiful species with slightly smaller flowers ( 3.5 cm ) and larger leaves ( 50 cm ) that needs more moisture. Found in areas below 1200 m.
  • Dipterocarpus alatus is one of the most planted Dipterocarpaceae, ( 14 species in Thailand ) rather uncommon in nature. High ( 45 m ) with a narrow crown and a brown grayish bark, has narrowly ovate leaves with pointed tips and pale pink flowers of 4 cm in clusters. Flowering from January to March. Moist areas below 800 m. D. costatus is common under the 1200 m range, with smaller pale orange flowers, like propellers, in unbranched clusters. The pale brown bark has remarkable swirling motifs that definitely suggest some Asian art patterns. D. obtusifolia has its clustered flowers with a stronger pink; propeller shape petals and broad ovate leaves rounded at the ends. Grows under 1200m in dry – intermediate moisture sites. Flowering from November to February. D.tuberculatus , flowering from February to April under 1200 m in intermediate – moist soils has distinctive pinkish- violet flowers in clusters.
  • Dracaena angustifolia, : with Dracaeana lourieri these are the only 2 Dracaenaceae known to grow in the wild in northern Thailand; seen at any altitude from sea level, and more frequently above 1000 m. They need moisture and shade.
  • Dracaena fragrans is the cultivated version : it has a strong fragrance with flowers opening at night during the cold season. An easy growing plant from cuttings.
  • Elaeocarapus hygrophilus, Elaeocarpaceae is certainly one of the most attractive among the 12 species known to grow in nature in Thailand. At any altitude under 1500 m provided that the setting be wet, wonderful 10 cm clusters of flowers with amazing scattered hairs will appear in April and May. Nice leaves obovate with scattered cuts on the sides.
  • Erythrina stricta, Elaeocarpaceae A showy Leguminosae with bright red flowers mounted on a dark purple calyx. Ravishing spike – like clusters and beautiful trifoliate broadly ovate leaves with central leaflet larger than the 2 on the sides. Any altitude range with an intermediate moisture is suitable. Flowering from February to April.
  • Fagraea ceilanica, Loganiaceae A moist loving plant under 800 m, appreciated for its fragrant whitish yellow flowers of 8 cm in short branched clusters at ends of twigs. Delicate stamens forming slender filaments. Fagraea fragrans is similar with longer stamens. Propagate by seeds to obtain the best root system; this plant likes the proximity of water areas and is known to resist flooding.
  • Ficus : this Moraceae has 30 species growing in the wild in North Thailand. F. microcarpa with its long spreading branches is one of the most planted; seen up to 1200 m with many aerial roots near water streams; figs are pink – purple. Needs intermediate moisture. Also widespread near streams and cultivated for landscape use is F. racemosa , in wet setting below 800 m. Almost elliptic leaves with pointed blunt tips. F. religiosa , native to India and widely planted in ground temples needs full moisture. At ends of slender stalks of 12 cm, broadly ovate leaves with a long and narrow tip and heart – shaped bottom.
  • Garcinia cowa, Guttiferae : although Garcinia have generally high moisture requirements, the Cowa can adapt to intermediate moisture sites at any altitude. Strong and thick small flowers from October to January. Has medicinal properties.
  • Gardenia sootepensis, Rubiaceae in dry – intermediate areas up to 1200 m, from March to July large fragrant flowers with 5 petals turning to yellow – orange at ends of twigs. If propagation is done by seeds the plant will withstand a lack of water owing to its better root system; but good flowering in pots needs the layering method on a 30 – 50 cm branch; pruning should keep the tree 1.5 m high, this will give more flowers.
  • Gmelina arborea, Labiateae. Tender brown – orange / yellow flowers of 3.5 cm at ends of hairy stalks in narrow branched clusters. One pair of stamens is longer than the others. Broad ovate leaves with slightly heart – shaped bases. Flowering is in February and March after leaves have fallen.
  • Goniothalamus laoticus, Annonaceae. Scattered in less disturbed forests under 1200 m, needs a moist setting; smooth dark grey bark. Wonderful fragrant flowers, from May to July, showing a unique golden yellow color ; they hang on leafless and almost horizontal branches; opposite narrowly oblong leaves blunt at the base. A must for Annonaceae lovers, but rare.. Propagation is by seeds, layering and cuttings; although layering can require patience owing to the difficult rooting, the method is best for cultivation in pots with beautiful flowering. Seeds should be taken after their cover has turned from green to yellow : the germination rate will be higher. G. griffithii is similar with narrower lanceolate leaves , beautiful green flowers, also fragrant, and a darker bark. It is even scarcer. Propagation by seeds takes a minimum of 4 years before the appearance of the flowers; the second method known is layering : although rooting may not be easy, it is best for transfers in pots.
  • Hibiscus macrophyllus, Malvaceae. is a very beautiful tree with an open crown, spaced branches and large, almost circular leaves; thin pale cream bark, bright yellow flowers in March – April covered at their base with long hairs, they show a dark purple eye. Similar H. tiliaceus has smaller leaves; H. mutabilis is a shrub of 3 m high with lobes on leaves and flowers turning from white to pink in the afternoon.
  • Hiptage benghalensis ssp candicans, Malpighiaceae. A big climber with small fragrant flowers, yellow / white with pinkish pots at ends of twigs; broad obovate opposite leaves. Flowering in February and March. Dry soils from sea level to 1000 meters. Propagation by seeds, layering and cuttings. Full exposure or half light. For cultivation the soils will be more humid than those of the natural habitat. The plant has a good longevity. It is cultivated in South East Asia, Shri Lanka, Philipines and Taiwan.
  • Holarrhena pubescent, Apocynaceae. Pale yellow flowers of 3.5 cm tinted pink and fragrant in the evening, with leaves hairy when mature. Dry areas under 1200 m. Propagate by seedling, layering and cuttings. Growth from seeds is rather fast but layering is considered to be the best compromise for cultivation in pots with good flowering. H. curtisii is similar with under leaves densely hairy; found in areas under 500 m.
  • Hopea odorata : Dipterocarpaceae with excellent timber properties ; moisture loving plant under 800 m. Sprays of slightly fragrant yellow small flowers at end of twigs. Flowering from November to March.
  • Lagerstroemia loudonii, Lythraceae : one of the most cultivated species for its showy pink or purple flowers, hairy on upper half, in clusters up to 20 cm; petals often fringed. Flowering in March in moist forests. Similar is L. tomentosa , found in moist areas under 1200 m; flowers white or pinkish. Often cultivated is L. floribunda : pale pink or purple flowers fading to white in large clusters.
  • Linociera macrophylla ( Chionanthus ramiflorus ), Oleaceae is a common small tree in both deciduous and evergreen forests. Many branched clusters of white , pale yellow flowers. Narrowly elliptic leaves and grey bark. Flowering at any altitude in January – February and July – August. Soils must be moist.
  • Magnolia henryi, Magnoliaceae. A very rare evergreen tree with smooth narrowly elliptic leaves, narrow buds and stalks to 10 cm. Fragrant flowers from November to February that gradually turn to a dark yellow. Propagate by seeds, layering and grafting. Grafting will give the fastest results.
    Similar is Magnolia lilifera, with smaller stalks , narrowly obovate leaves, pale brown bark and white flowers up to 15 cm. Flowering under 1200 m in moist soils from March to May.
  • Mahonia nepalensis, ( M. siamensis ) Berberidaceae : found only above 1200 m in dry / intermediate sites, preferably rocky and exposed; this tree has an irregular crown with bright yellow flowers in long and numerous thick unbranched clusters. It is cultivated in altitude on slopes under full light. It needs space and will not flower if the environment is too moist. Propagation by seeds, other methods have not been reported to be successful.
  • Mahonia nepalensis, ( M. siamensis ) Berberidaceae : found only above 1200 m in dry / intermediate sites, preferably rocky and exposed; this tree has an irregular crown with bright yellow flowers in long and numerous thick unbranched clusters. It is cultivated in altitude on slopes under full light. It needs space and will not flower if the environment is too moist. Propagation by seeds, other methods have not been reported to be successful.
  • Mangifera indica, Anacardiacae. One of the most cultivated Mango trees in Thailand, that maybe native of Burma and India.
  • Melia toosendan, Meliacae. Very attractive flowers from January to March, white with a violet centre, in large branched clusters forming a wide crown. Grows at any altitude in moist / intermediate sites. M. azedarach, similar, is commonly planted.
  • Melodorum fruticosum, an Annonceae with smooth lanceolate leaves, creamy pale yellow flowers on 2 cm stalks. Fragrant; the flowering period is very influenced by the local environment. Propagated by seeds ( flowers after 5 years ) and layering, which is best suited for pots; but rooting may be uneasy. Choose a branch at the top of the tree. Unless flowers were on the selected branch, one might wait 2 to 3 years before seeing them.
  • Mesua ferrea, Guttiferae. ” Iron Wood “, a very beautiful tree with big fragrant white flowers and numerous yellow -orange stamens, petals broadly obovate. Much praised by the timber industry for its extremely hard bark of red-brown color, the very mature trees are rare in the wild ( moist sites under 800 m ). Fortunately it is often planted and can be seen in temple grounds. Propagated by seeds and layering. Growth from seeds is very slow : only 20 cm the first year and the flowers will come on a 3 m. tree, which requires 6 years. Although cuttings are hard to root, they remain the best way for cultivation in pots and a quick appearance of flowers. A variety with pink flowers is scarcely available, and is much in fashion. Avoid excess fertilization; soil and air must be humid.
  • Michelia champaca, Magnoliaceae. Often planted for its showy fragrant flowers; they are bright yellow 4-5 cm, at leaf axils with narrowly conical buds; 8 – 12 narrow petals. Stalks 2-4 cm with a stipule scar on half length. Leaves are narrowly ovate with tapering or pointed tips. Bark pale grey or brown, resinous wood. Flowering from April to June at any moist site , any altitude, but more easily between 800 – 1200 m. Few remain in the wild because of its excellent timber properties. Propagation is by layering , cuttings or seeds. Seedling are preferred for growing trees as they will induce an upright stem and a stronger root system. Trees grown in altitude will always give more seeds. For cultivation in pots with good flowering, layering is the best method though. Well drained soil and full light.
  • M. floribunda is a rare plant, that can be found above 1500 m. in the less disturbed moist forests. Flowering from January to March. White or pale yellow flowers with 10 – 12 petals; very fragrant. Leaves with a whitish powder below, narrowly elliptic with tapering tips. Smaller stalks, also with a stipule scar on half length. Propagation is by seeds and grafting in altitude. Seeds of M. floribunda are known to have a low germination rate and grafting is better for a quick appearance of the flowers.
  • M. rajaniana, an other rare Magnoliaceae, found above 1000 m; it has broad ovate leaves, with a round or heart shaped base. Under leaves are covered with pale brown hairs; stipule scar on half length stalk. Nice thick grayish bark; flowers ( from May to July ) are whitish – pale yellow, with center covered by golden – brown hairs. Very fragrant, with a rather quick growth, robust; propagate by seeds or grafting with M. champaca. Grafting is good at any altitude. Avoid cuttings, they hardly root. Full exposure to light, well drained humid soil.
  • M. baillonii is more common, growing at any altitude at sites with intermediate moisture. From July to September, white fragrant flowers with 12 – 18 petals. Leaves narrowly elliptic or oblong, tapering at both ends. Stalks 3.5 cm with stipule scar on half length. Propagate by seeds and grafting. Grafting is best suited for cultivation in pots. Choose a humid soil, well drained and full light. This plant can stand rather low temperatures.
  • M. x alba, ” White Champaca ” is the most cultivated; identifiable from its stipule scar only near the base of stalks. Propagation by cutting, or preferably by layering on a min. 1 m plant gives a shoot in 2 months. The branch must be chosen at the top of the tree and must be upright. Water often and expose to full sunlight for good branching with numerous flowers and a conical shape of the tree.
  • Millingtonia hortensis, a Bignoniaceae often planted for its large and fragrant white flowers in showy clusters. Very nice leaves in pairs of opposite leaflets. Flowering in September and October, in dry or intermediate sites under 800 m. For cultivation, seeds are suitable but dividing the root system gives a faster growth. Full sunlight; it has been observed that sticky soils generate fast spreading roots near the surface.
  • Mytragina rotundifolia : commonly found under 1200 m. in areas with an intermediate moisture, this Rubiaceae is appreciated for its spherical yellow flowers of 2.5 cm in branched clusters; broad leaves ovate in opposite rows. Flowering from September to November.
  • Millingtonia hortensis, a Bignoniaceae often planted for its large and fragrant white flowers in showy clusters. Very nice leaves in pairs of opposite leaflets. Flowering in September and October, in dry or intermediate sites under 800 m. For cultivation, seeds are suitable but dividing the root system gives a faster growth. Full sunlight; it has been observed that sticky soils generate fast spreading roots near the surface.
  • M. diversifolia is similar and fragrant. The decorative tree is robust and is a choice for designers of golf areas as it is a good and strong fence against winds. It is best propagated by division of the base of a plant selected near a water area : it will branch profusely.
  • Mitrephora vandaeflora, Annonaceae. Ostentatious fragrant flowers of 4 to 6 cm in clusters on short, thick and woody stalks. Its three flashy outer petals of 3.5 cm long are delicately twisted in a magnificent orange – red striped with yellow; the three inner petals are shorter, narrow at the base and broad at the top. This amazing plant is found under 1200 m and requires good moisture. Flowering is from January to March. If propagated by seeds, the first flowers will appear 4 years after a 1 month germination; from layering, roots will come easily in 2 months and it will do well in pots. When well established in pots it can even stand periods of low moisture.
  • M. sp. , very rare , is known to grow in the less disturbed moist evergreen forest of Chiang Rai Province , at around 1400 m. The flowers are much larger ( 5 – 7 cm ) , with outer petals white turning to a beautiful yellow.
  • Morinda tomentosa, Rubiaceae From March to May, pure white flowers of 2 cm with nice conical corollas; several flowers on the same 2.5 cm stalk. Beautiful dark green of the leaves, with paler under with dark spots. Grows under 800 m in semi-open areas with intermediate moisture. M. citrifolia a similar species with smaller flowers and larger leaves is often cultivated in northern Thailand for its medicinal properties. M. coreia is the cultivated species : flowering with a delicate fragrance from April to June; it is propagated only by seeds. Used as a strong tree in towns.
  • Muntingia calabura, Tiliaceae was introduced from the Carribean for its juicy fruits : flowers 2.5 cm with delicate white petals. Leaves are toothed and narrowly ovate with an asymmetric base.
  • Muntingia calabura, Tiliaceae was introduced from the Carribean for its juicy fruits : flowers 2.5 cm with delicate white petals. Leaves are toothed and narrowly ovate with an asymmetric base.
  • Murraya paniculata, Rutaceae. ” Satin Wood ” : very ornamental flowers with petals like white curved ribbons; creamy and thin bark. Good humidity is required where it grows up to 1200 in its natural habitat. Flowering there is from February to May . As a cultivated plant, flowering is observed all year round; propagate by seedling , or layering for a strong rooting after 2 months under shade. An adaptive nature in pots with a fast growth rate and a strong fragrance in the evening.
  • Ochna integerrima : this Ochnaceae that can make a 8 m tree is much prized for the astonishing pattern of the bright red sepals that surround the clusters of green turning black globular fruits. Flowers diam 4 cm, with fragrance are rich yellow in nice thryses; flowering from February to May , fruiting is from April to June. Grows under 1200 m in semi open areas moist or intermediate. Propagate by seeds, layering or cuttings. Layering is done on branches where flowers have their 2 layers of overlapping petals. Select large pots and keep the soil humid and well drained. Ochna kirkii, ” Mickey Mouse ” is an other cultivated species, 2 m high with blooming all year round. Petals are not in 2 layers. The red and black fruits look like the face of Mickey mouse. Dark green foliage. Needs 30 to 50 % light, moderate moisture and loamy soil.
  • Pachira aquatica : a Bombaceae introduced from South America; smooth green bark, flowers 18 cm with green twisted petals. Numerous yellow / white stamens.
  • Pavetta indica, : not uncommon in the wild, this Rubiaceae has a pinkish bark and fragrant white 2.5 cm flowers in beautiful corymbs; nice trumpet like corolla with a slender tube. It grows at any altitude in moist / intermediate areas, making nice bushes 2 to 4 m high, flowering from March to June. Cultivation : appreciated for the easy rooting by layering, although cuttings are an option. Easy maintenance, good longevity, prune for bigger flowers in pots and keep the soil well moist and drained. Full light.
  • Peltophorum dasyrachis, Leguminosae seen along the roads, it is found under 800 m in forest areas with intermediate moisture. In march and April, flashy yellow flowers in hanging clusters up to 35 cm long. Less scarcely cultivated is
  • Peltophorum pterocarpum, a round crown tree with a smooth and grayish brown bark. The yellow flowers in clusters are fragrant, it blooms in February and March. Any soil with a moderate moisture under full light. A favorite in resorts, parks and seaside. It grows fast and has a wide tolerance, but is appreciated by stem borers.
  • Phyllanthus acidus, Euphorbiaceae” Star Gooseberry ” from Brazil and naturalized in Thailand, has flowers in long clusters. It is cultivated for its medicinal properties.
  • Phyllanthus columnaris. Flowers are upright in clusters, the female have slightly longer sepals than the male.
  • Phyllanthus emblica : like P. columnaris , it requires dry / intermediate sites and grows at any altitude. The flowers, in dense clusters, are usually at the axils of the leaves. One cluster has many more male than female.
  • Phyllanthus roseus , scattered in moist areas under 1300 m. The male flowers, on very small stalks, have 5 sepals, the female have longer stalks and 6 sepals.
  • Polyalthia cerasoides, Annonaceae. Light green flowers from February to April and round bright red fruits from April to June. Two Polyalthia sp. are cultivated , both suitable for pots.
  • Prunus cerasoides, Rosaceae : beautiful bright pink flowers with pink calyx, in clusters; a favorite along roadsides. Flowering is in December, January and February above 800 m; intermediate moisture.
  • Radermachera ignea, Bignoniaceae, ” Tree Jasmine ” : much prized for the attractive bright orange clusters of 3 – 5 flowers that are like 7.5 cm trumpet, mounted on a violet base. Very nice pinnate leaves, 50 cm. flowering from March to May in its natural habitat under 1200 m in intermediate or moist areas. When cultivated flowering is from January to April under full sunlight in moderate to high moisture. Slow growth rate, not shady but it likes cold and dry weather.
  • Rhododendron arborea var delavayi, Ericaceae : very pretty deep red 5 cm flowers with trumpet – like corolla and 10 slender stamens. Nice red – brown bark. This endemic variety is found in some areas above 1200 m with intermediate moisture. Flowering from December to February.
  • Rhododendron ludwigianum, endemic at higher altitude : 1600 – 2200 m, on dry / intermediate slopes. From March to May, clusters of 6.5 cm flowers white or pink with yellow, green or orange spots.
  • R. molumainense  has smaller leaves, 5 cm, white in umbels. Flowering from February to April above 900 m in dry / intermediate areas.
  • R. veitchianum is found at a higher altitude, min. 1400 m. White, pale yellow or pinkish flowers 7 cm.
  • Rothmannia sootepensis, Rubiaceae A fragrant plant difficult to find in the trade despite its high ornamental value. Beautiful leaves narrowly elliptic pointed at both ends, with a dark green above and pale under; clusters of 1 to 5 magnificent white flowers 7.5 cm with a common short stalk. Flowering from January to April under 1200 m in intermediate / moist areas. Cultivation : layering and cuttings work. Seeds should be taken from pods that have turned from green to light yellow. From seeds the plant has a good tolerance in dry periods but growth is slow; cuttings are hard to root and displacing the plant will slower the growth. Finally layering is the best method although it may be uneasy to find an upright branch with a suitable size; layering gives the best flowering in pots under half light. Prune for better branching.
  • Sambuscus javanica, Caprifoliaceae, : tiny white fragrant flowers in large clusters, with smooth lanceolate leaves, odd pinnate with sharp teeth.
  • S. simpsonii ” American Elder ” , introduced from South America is similar with denser clusters. Used by garden water designers : propagation by seeds and division of the root system. Humid soil, moderate sunlight until the plant has a mature size, then full light; but it doesn’t like a too hot environment. Suitable near water areas, such as garden cascades.
  • Sandoricum koetjape ” Yellow Sentol ” , is a Meliaceae often planted for its medicinal properties. Grows in moisture retentive environments under 1200 m. Small yellow – green flowers in branched clusters; small and hairy stalks. The fruits, 8 cm, protected by a thick skin are jelly – like inside.
  • Schima wallichii, Theaceae has white fragrant flowers 5 cm with large rounded petals around dense yellow stamens. Flowering is 1 to 3 times per year depending on the habitat; in the wild, grows at any altitude but more easily above 1200 m in areas with intermediate moisture. Propagation by seeds will give the best tolerance to various conditions, including dry periods. When cultivated, intermittent humidity will accelerate the growth. If grown in the more tropical South of Thailand, short periods of rains will boost it and flowering can be 3 times per year. If done by layering, it does very well in pots, with good flowering.
  • Syzygium : more than 80 species of this Myrtaceae are identified in Thailand. S. megacarpum is certainly one of the most attractive, with white or pink 5 cm flowers in short branched clusters. S. formosum is similar, with a showy pink. Flowering from January to March in moist areas.
  • Wrightia arborea, Apocynaceae : nice flowers 2.3 cm in branched clusters , usually white but also green or slightly yellow; hairy stalks. The anthers make a cone around the style; flowering is in May and June; grows under 1200 m in environments with intermediate moisture.
  • Wrightia religiosa is similar with longer stalks. Flowers are fragrant, white with both simple and double petals; bark is blackish brown with small white patches. Cultivation of this slow growing but easy maintanant tree is in any soil but sandy with moderate – high moisture, under full light or partial shade. More light gives lighter green leaves and a denser crown. Lacking fertilizer and water will turn the leaves yellow. Propagation by cutting and layering works well. A favorite to create a forest atmosphere or near the seaside. Tolerance to flooding. Fragrant flowering almost throughout year. A popular topiary. W. coccinea has orange – red petals. W. pubescens, with white or pink flowers is endemic in a Northern province of Thailand.

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