Thailand is famous for its flowers, in particular the orchid, known as Gluay Mai in Thai. Many visitors find it surprising that these tropical flowers actually bloom in the winter, when the weather is cooler. The best time to see them is January when all the orchids in the north of Thailand will be in bloom. As well as being cool, the weather is also very dry this time of year but the orchids have developed effective means of storing rainwater and using it months later to bloom in all their glory. Some orchids use roots to suck up dew in the mornings while others have developed large bulbs that simply hold water during the rainy season. Some others grow on trees and collect rain run-off in this way but are not parasitic as sometimes thought. As well as January, most orchids will flower again in August during the rains. When they are open they will collect water and store it for use during the dry season.
There are more than a thousand different species of orchids in Thailand and they come in all shapes, sizes and most notably colours an explosion of all colours of the rainbow is witnessed in the January blooming season. The most beautiful of these is probably the white, yellow and red flowers, in particular the pure white orchids which are extremely rare in the wild. These are produced in controlled conditions by the skilled gardeners of Chiang Mai. Most of the other varieties are easier to breed and can be seen all over the north of Thailand, both in the wild and in gardens and markets.
Almost as stunning as the range of colours is the diversity of places that these magical flowers choose to grow. They are found all over Thailand, from the lowland plains to the high mountains and from the jungles of the south to the dry plateau of the north-east. Some orchids grow simply in the ground, while others grow on the side of trees, rocks or even cliffs. Some live in permanent shade in rainforests, some in full sunlight. But all of them flourish in these exceptional conditions.
The author is a florist and has a Flower Thailand website where you can send flowers and gifts in Bangkok, Pattaya and other areas in Thailand. The author loves making flower arrangements and takes great pride in his job delivering flowers personally to people in Thailand.
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