Thailand is a country with a rich culture, traditions and diverse fauna and flora. Among the beautiful flowers found in Thailand, the flowers of the Golden Shower Tree hold a special place. Known as the national flower of Thailand, the flower from the Golden Shower Tree or Cassia Fistula is of great significance to the people of Thailand.
After we saw its beauty with our own eyes in the streets of Thailand, we knew we had to learn more about it. We asked some of our local Thai friends and did our research on the Internet. So read on to find out more about the history, significance, uses, medicinal properties, symbolism and cultural importance of the national flower of Thailand, or ratchaphruek or dok koon in Thai!
- The flower of the Golden Shower Tree is known as the national flower of Thailand. That tree is referred to as ratchaphruek or dok koon in Thai.
- It was selected in 2001 as the national flower of Thailand because of its bold yellow color and its abundance in the country. The color is associated with Thai royalty and Thai Buddhism, the main religion in Thailand.
- The national flower of Thailand is seen throughout the country. It not only as cultural significance, but it has plenty of medicinal benefits as well.
History of The National Flower of Thailand
The National Flower of Thailand, the Golden Shower Tree is one of the most beloved trees in Thailand and has a rich history. While its exact origins are unknown, the tree is believed to have originated in India and Southeast Asia and then spread to the countries around it.
The Golden Shower Tree holds a special place in Thai culture and was officially declared the national flower of Thailand in 2001. The reason for choosing the Golden Shower Tree as the national flower is its historical significance and its connection to the Thai monarchy. The tree is considered a symbol of honor, royalty, and prosperity in Thai culture.
It is also the official state flower of Kerala state in India, and visitors can find an abundance of the tree and flowers in India.
Physical Characteristics of The National Flower of Thailand
The National Flower of Thailand comes from the Golden Shower Tree, which is a deciduous tree, also known as Cassia Fistula Linn, Purging Cassia, Indian Laburnum, Kani Konna, or pudding-pipe tree, and can grow up to around 20 meters high. It is most often called Golden Shower Tree because when the flowers fall from the tree, it looks like a shower of gold.
The tree is fast-growing and can reach a height of up to several meters within a few years. It has an umbrella-shaped crown, and a straight trunk. The tree’s leaves are long, slender and cleftless, while the delicate blooms on sturdy stems hang in cascades of bright, shimmering yellow flowers.
The flowers bloom annually from late spring or early summer, ideally in hot and dry weather. Their sweet nectar attracts honeybees, butterflies, and other pollinators. The tree produces flattened cylindrical seed pods and its wood is known for being both strong and lightweight.
Significance of The National Flower of Thailand in Thai Culture
The Golden Shower Tree is known as ratchaphruek in Thai, which translates to “Royal Tree”. Consequently, it has influenced many parts of Thai culture.
As we mentioned, the tree has been closely associated with the Thai monarchy for centuries and is viewed as a symbol of prosperity, longevity, and power. The beautiful golden-yellow flowers have been an inspiration for many artists, and are often depicted in Thai paintings, sculptures, and even in traditional Thai dance costumes
In Thailand, the Golden Shower Tree is also associated with various cultural traditions and ceremonies. The tree is often planted outside temples, palaces, and other important buildings.
During the Thai New Year (Songkran) festival, sprigs of the tree are used to sprinkle water on people as a symbol of purification and good luck. In some parts of Thailand, the flowers of the Golden Shower Tree is also used as a decorative element in wedding ceremonies.
Over time, the significance of the Golden Shower Tree has changed somewhat in Thai society. For instance, while the tree was once exclusively associated with royalty and the Monarchy, it has now become more popular and widely used by ordinary Thai citizens.
As Thailand has become more developed, the tree’s traditional spiritual, aesthetic, and symbolic meanings have somewhat evolved and adapted to modern Thailand.
Medicinal Properties of The National Flower of Thailand
Traditional Thai medicine has long recognized the Golden Shower Tree for its medicinal properties. In Ayurvedic medicine, the Golden Shower Tree is sometimes referred to as “disease killer”.
The tree’s bark, flowers, and leaves have been used for centuries to alleviate various ailments. It is known to have antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties that help to promote health and wellbeing.
In many parts of southern Asia, the Golden Shower Tree is a well-known traditional herb used to cure several health conditions. Its roots can be used on skin diseases and burns, while its bark that has been boiled or crushed helps with constipation and indigestion.
Additionally, drinking beverages with infusion from this unique plant’s leaves are known for relieving dry coughs as well as bronchitis. Although it may provide variety of medicinal benefits in small doses, consuming large amounts could result in vomiting, nausea and abdominal pain.
Cultural Importance of The National Flower of Thailand
The national flower of Thailand has great cultural significance in Thailand and is a common sight throughout the country. Their bright yellow colors are not only used to represent Thai royalty, but it is also used in Buddhist temples as a symbol, while their symbolization is also used in traditional Thai literature and art, such as dance and music.
In addition to its historical and cultural significance, the Golden Shower Tree is also a source of pride for many Thais, and its beauty is admired by people around the world. The tree adds to Thailand’s natural beauty, and its flowers and seeds are used to create various handicrafts, including jewelry, ornaments, and other decorative items.
The Golden Shower Tree is also commonly used in landscaping and as a shade tree. Its fast growth rate and attractive foliage make it popular for gardens, parks, and other public spaces. Its towering height and resilience also make it a long-lived feature in various iconic locations around the country.
Uses of The National Flower of Thailand
Apart from its medicinal and cultural significance, the national flower of Thailand has many uses. The Golden Shower Tree’s softwood is prized for its durability and lightness, making it a perfect material for furniture and construction.
The seeds from the Golden Shower Tree are sometimes used to make necklaces and other items. The seeds are strung together and worn around the neck as a decorative accessory. Craftsmen also use the tree’s fine-grained wood to make musical instruments like the Thai xylophone, which is called “Ranat ek”.
The national flower of Thailand from the Golden Shower Tree can be used in a variety of ways. They are used to create perfumes, lotions, and other cosmetic products to treat skin conditions. They are also a dyed material for traditional Thai textiles. In addition, the flowers can be boiled to create a herbal tea that helps stimulate digestion, fight colds and coughs, and relieve tension and headaches.
Conclusion: The National Flower of Thailand
If you didn’t know anything about the national flower of Thailand, we hope you do now. The national flower of Thailand comes from the flowers of the Golden Shower Tree, which is called ratchaphruek or dok koon in Thai.
Its stunning yellow flowers, rich cultural history, and medicinal properties make the Golden Shower Tree an important part of Thai heritage. From its symbolism in ancient literature to its use in traditional medicines and handicrafts, the Golden Shower Tree symbolizes the spirit of Thailand and its rich cultural heritage.