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Elite plants

May 26, 2014

Plant shopping in Chiang Mai is exciting, but the lack of scientific names and the high risk of buying unhealthy plants or plants unsuitable to the Chiang Mai monsoon climate can sometimes cause irritation. Here in Sweden,  the concept E-plant (elite plant) includes nursery plants with a guarantee:

1. A variety selected for Swedish climate.

2. A variety which has been tested at many Swedish places to give local advice.

3. Local production to ensure the plants are in phase with the current season.

4. Species and variety guaranteed and of course labeled with scientific names.

5. Healthy plants free from viruses and fungi.


Lately, woody e-plants are equipped with a microchip with a number which can be read with a certain device. The number of the chip can be used to look up the individual plant in a database, providing all the necessary information. A lost tag will no longer mean the information is lost. The technique is still novel, and it remains to find out how reliably the information can be read, and if the plant is damaged by the injection of the microchip.

The cost for an e-plant is about 10% higher than for ordinary plants.

Future will show if this is a clever step to ensure high quality, or if this is an unnecessary technology.

Text & Photo: Eric Danell

6 Comments leave one →
  1. david permalink
    May 26, 2014 8:52 PM

    10%? Blimey. So a €10 000 tree costs a bit more than a €100 tree for the same work? I think that this could be very useful in botanical gardens and the like (we occasionally had people coming in and changing labels). In Thailand? I don’t think so.

    • June 8, 2014 7:04 PM

      The e-plant brand applies to small plants from a nursery, not huge trees. It is rather a price difference of 200-220 €. It may come to Thailand in the distant future, it may disappear in Sweden, up to the market.

  2. Pete And Lek permalink
    July 1, 2014 7:24 PM

    Dear Eric,

    we have about 2.5 Ha near Khon Kaen and a number of farming and gardening experiments running. One big puzzel I have is a “weed” that infests my vegetable patch. Its some form of grass but I cannot get any where with my internet searches. Unless completely removed it will regrow from root lumps. It grows more vigorously with well worked soil and compost!

    What I think I am seeing now though is that this weed seems to be improving the structure of my soil. It started as fine silt and bakes hard in the sun. We cover with straw and keep moist and it behaves better. But now I can see the fine particles are clumped together and giving me much better drainage. What was hard work with a spade is easy now with a fork and this was after the first of the rainy season showers. Another patch without the “weed” is still heavy even though covered and well worked.

    Is it possible that it is a stimulating soil bacteria and might be a good stepping stone to developing soil into a better growing medium. ? I enclose some photos in case you are able to identify this.

    Hardly a scientific study but an observation I will follow with an experiment perhaps.

    By the way really enjoyed your posts.

    the measure is a twelve inch ruler.

    these are the root nodules that will regenerate growth.

    Best regards



    • July 1, 2014 7:26 PM

      Kindly send a picture of your weed for ID. Hard to tell the mechanism without knowing the plant. (info at

      Cheers, Eric

  3. Julia Brennan permalink
    August 16, 2014 12:27 AM

    Hello, I have been following your wonderful blog Dokmai Dogma…..

    I am a textile conservator and working part time as a consultant with the fairly new Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles in Bangkok on grounds of Grand Palace.I have been training the preservation staff and setting up the lab and exhibits etc since 2008. I am based in Washington DC, but travel back and forth to BKK. Incidentally, I was raised in Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai 1964-70. Wonderful memories.

    Last year we embarked on a research project to document and collect data on the traditional materials (plant based) and methods used rurally (and some old palace royal records also) to clean, protect, do stain removal, repell insects, storage of silk and cotton heirloom and everyday cloths. We interviewed 50 subjects, and have buy lt a database of all the various plant species and varieties that were referred to by our informants. Some of the materials and plants referred to by elders are actually ones their grandmothers or elders used, so they are using ‘remembered’ data. We have not yet collected samples of the plant materials.

    At this time, we have written a summary paper of our research and preliminary findings, and will present this in 2 international conferences in SEptember 2014. Our next step is to select a group of the plant materials from our database (such as perhaps 6 of the various saponins) and collect the plant materials and actually make the receipes and test them out for the said purposes such as wet cleaning or stain removal.

    We also need to work with a botanist or biologist to analyze some of the plant material, their active ingredients, so that we may compare them and correlate them with present day synthetic detergents and other materials used in ’21st c textile conservation practices based on science’.

    Our project is called ‘Before THey Are Gone’ It is about chronicling these practices and knowledge of the elders before the information is lost forever. It is also about our Thai heritage, the foundation for today’s Thai textile conservation practitioners, their legacy their roots so to speak. So it is a project about Identity and practical data for our practices.

    Are you all interested in possibly collaborating with us on some aspects of our on going research? We need to really refine the overall scientific protocol of the project, and move forward with the materials analysis and testing.

    I don’t know if this is an area you could work with us? I will be in Thailand off and on end of August, and all of October 2014. We could certainly meet or discuss via email and telephone.

    I look forward to your reply. I very much enjoy your blog.

    Thank you, Julia JUlia M Brennan

    • August 31, 2014 6:33 PM

      Dear Julia,

      What an amazing project. At present I am stationed in Sweden but maybe we meet in London at the 16th Flora of Thailand conference next week?

      Cheers, Eric

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