The Parrot Flower

Yesterday I received some wonderful pictures from a fellow Misty. These are of the very rare and amazingly beautiful Parrot Flower of Thailand. At first I thought it was a hoax, as you will see the flowers look remarkably like parrots but it is a REAL plant. Isn’t the Goddess absolutely amazing!

parrot flower1

parrot flower2

parrot flower3

The Parrot Flower (Impatiens psittacina) is a rare species from several small geographic regions in Asia: northern Thailand, Myanmar (formerly Burma) and one state in India adjacent to those countries. The people of Thailand have a name for the plant, and call it “Dork Nok Khaew”. Literally translated that says: Dork or Dok = flower, Nok = bird, and Khaew = green or word for parrot. So the translation would be Flower Bird Parrot. Besides the original published scientific work by botanist Hooker, it is also listed in the scientific text Flora of India Volume 4. The Parrot Flower exists, and it is not an orchid despite the claims on one site that uses it to promote their services!! Orchids have three petals and three sepals and are a very distinctive group of plants. This specimen is a member of the Impatiens family!

The main blooming season for the Impatiens in Thailand is October and November.

The plant was originally published in 1901 in a British publication, the Curtis Botanical Journal Magazine, Tab 7809. Credited as having been discovered in the Shan States of Upper Burma in 1899 by an individual named A.H. Hildebrand, in that publication botanist Joseph Dalton Hooker described the species almost exactly as it is seen in the photographs. Hooker lived from 1817-1911 and is the botanist of record who named the species. Hooker examined specimens grown from wild collected seed from either Burma or far eastern India at the Royal Botanical Garden Kew in Britain but did his original work on the plant in Calcutta, India. It is unclear whether Hooker drew his work from a live specimen or preserved flowers. At that time drawings from dried specimens were permitted. Hooker said the plants in England did not produce seed, possibly due to the lack of natural pollinators. In the 100 plus years that have since passed the colors of Hooker’s ink drawings have obviously faded so the colors of his drawings are no longer an exact match to the color of the flower as it is seen in nature.

This rare plant is a protected species in Thailand and not allowed to be exported.



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