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Butea superba – a medicinal liana

April 20, 2010

At 22.30 in the evening we have 30 °C, which feels cool after a day at 37°C. I sit outdoors, as it is still hot indoors, and since I enjoy to listen to the Common Koel, the long-tailed Nightjar, the Collared Scops-owl, crickets and now and then a frog and a laughing gecko. Tonight the music of the tropical night is undisturbed by the farmers, who may play extremely loud karaoke whenever there is a party. I need to sit two meters away from the lamp, as it attracts swarms of a tiny dipteran. Today was a successful day, as I met with the biochemist Moses Zira at Chiang Mai University, who helped me get hold of seeds of Butea superba. This native, massive liana is considered medicinal, with anti tumour activities, why villagers dig up the roots resulting in a declining frequency of the species. The seeds come from the medicinal garden behind the university pharmacy department. Our aim is to grow this liana, and sell it to other gardens, making it more common as an ornamental, and thereby help omitting the threat of extinction. Unfortunately I have no pictures of this rare flowering plant. Below you will therefore see the pictures of its big sister, the tree Butea monosperma, which is also the symbol of Chiang Mai University and of Chiang Mai Province. The flowers are usually seen in February.

Eric Danell

2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 15, 2013 1:14 PM

    I have a few seedlings grown this year if you would like to plant some.

    • September 15, 2013 6:36 PM

      I do!

      If you are back in town maybe we can meet tomorrow Monday at 3 p.m., Blue Smoothie coffee place you showed us a long time ago?

      Cheers and thanks, Eric

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