Ratchaphruek: Fun Facts About Thailand’s National Flower
The Ratchaphruek, or scientifically known as Cassia Fistula Linn was designated as the National Flower of Thailand in 2001.
Ratchaphruek is a large flowering tree, easy to plant anywhere in Thailand, and one that is loved by Thais for numerous reasons. The name ratchaphruek means “royal tree” in Thai, and is also popularly known as the Golden Shower Tree for its soft vibrant yellow flowers that inflorescence downwards in clusters on the tree, resembling raindrops. Read on to learn more about Thailand’s pretty national flower.
A new national symbol
Before 2001, Thailand did not have any national symbols and it was in October of 2001 that the Ratchaphruek flower joined the elephant and the pavilion to become the national flower, national animal, and national architecture of Thailand respectively.
Royal and religious connections
Its yellow blossoms or “dok koon” correspond to the color of Monday, which is the birthday of the much-loved and respected late King Bhumibol Adulyadei. Yellow is also an auspicious color for the people in Thailand as it symbolizes solidarity, harmony, glory, and love. Part of the reason the ratchaphruek was chosen as Thailand’s national flower is its bold yellow color. Yellow is associated with Buddhism, the country’s majority religion.
Ayurvedic benefits of ratchaphruek
It’s rather telling that the ratchaphruek is also referred to as the ‘disease killer’ in traditional Ayurvedic medicine. As mentioned in ancient Ayurvedic texts, the fruit is said to have laxative properties. However, Ayurvedic systems do not advocate the use of the tree in herbal remedies without consulting a herbalist first. The tannin in the Ratchaphruek is also used to help cure heart diseases and helps in the prevention of cancer as it can act as an antioxidant to eliminate free radicals.
The tree has either leaves or flowers
You won’t find a ratchaphruek tree with both blossoms and leaves, because as the flowers bloom, the leaves drop! This makes the striking yellow hues of the tree stand out even more.
It usually blooms during the hot months
In Thailand, roadsides are often awash in yellow hues between February and May. The ratchaphruek’s flowers bloom at the end of Thailand’s cool season, surviving throughout the hottest months.
The Ratchaphruek flowers are also associated with the Laotian New Year as it is hung in people’s homes to attract good fortunes and is used as offerings in temples.