'Primlarp' and Primlarp
Review of the
Waterlily in Thailand
Text and images by
Sqn. Ldr. Primlarp Wasuwat Chukiatman
Edited by Dr. Slearmlarp Wasuwat
Click images to enlarge
I work with my father Dr. Slearmlarp Wasuwat as a gardener,
waterlily data collector and assistant in research projects at
our house Pang U Bon (which in Thai means House of Waterlily).
Dr. Slearmlarp started to collect and study waterlilies and lotus
in 1969. We share the information we have with and support other
institutes, universities and hobbyists. For that reason I know
many people who are interested in waterlilies.
'Dao Thammanoon', Dr. Slearmlarp hybrid >
Pang U Bon
Thailand is a watershed country. There is plenty of wet land
with natural growths of lotus and waterlilies. Local Thais harvest
lotus flowers for religious worship, lotus seed and waterlily
peduncle for food. The geology and weather of Thailand support
all year growing of waterlilies. Plant growers and breeders can
work whenver they like. Most of them still do not know much about
the plants and how to cultivate them properly. There are only
a few Thai water plant technologists and they have not had a
chance to extend their know-how to the planters. Some planters,
farmers and dealers sell tropical day-blooming waterlily seedlings
by the name of real cultivars because they do not know the seedlings
are not true to type.
The history of waterlilies in Thailand began with native plants
in the water areas around the country. About 100 years ago a
few people who went abroad imported some varieties of waterlily
to decorate their place or government area. For example H.H.
Princess Saisavalibhiromya Suthasininart imported the tropical
day blooming waterlily Nymphaea capensis var. zanzibariensis
from Indonesia and named it suthasinobon in Thailand.
In 1892 Praya Pradhipatpuban ordered seeds of Victoria amazonica
to grow. Now it is called "bua kradong" in Thai. After
that dealers imported other waterlilies to sell, such as chompoo
celon, the pink tropical night blooming waterlily from
Sri Lanka. Hardy waterlilies named in Thai include champa-ha-see
for N. Commanche, sadd krae for N.
Graziella' and tubtim siam' for N. Ellisiana'.
The few articles on taxonomy of waterlilies and lotus go back
to the year 1940. A book named The Ornamental Plant of
Thailand was written by Praya VinitVanandorn. The next
article from the Natural Bulletin of Siam Society, Volume 17,
December 1958, named On the Nymphaeaceae of Thailand
was written by Professor Kasin Suwattapan.
In 1969, Dr. Slearmlarp imported many varieties of hardy and
tropical day and night blooming waterlily cultivars for trials
in Thailand at Pang U Bon 1*. He hybridized those day blooming
tropicals that survived.
The first two hybrids that he obtained from N. Trail
Blazer x N. Mr. Martin E. Randig were
N. Praow (or N. Praw) and
N. Ply in 1978. These were followed by the
famous open pollinated N. Larp Prasert in
1980, N.Primlarp, an open pollinated seedling
from night blooming N. Mrs. George C. Hitchcock
in 1984, the first viviparous red pygmy N. Dang
Jiew from N. Tina as mother in 1985, tropical
day blooming N. Thongsook in 1988 and N.
Gulyanee from a self-pollination of N. Trail
Blazer in 1990.
Next came tropical day blooming N. Garnjanathep
from the self-pollination of N. Green Smoke
in 1992, N. Royal Red from self-pollination
of tropical day blooming N. Dang Kasartra
in 1994, tropical night blooming N. Piyalarp
in 1998, tropical day blooming N. Swangjitra
in 2003, tropical night blooming N. Prawnapa
from a pool open pollinated cultivar in 2007. From 1969 until
this day Dr. Slearmlarp has introduced over 45 cultivars at Pang
U Bon. Hybridization and selection continues. Now at Pang U Bon
there are collections of 112 hardy waterlilies, 142 tropical
day bloomers, 31 tropical night bloomers, 60 Thai lotus and Victoria
Dr. Slearmlarp wrote his first book Culture of Ornamental
Nymphaea in Thailand in 1982. The book was endorsed and
honored by the Thai Scientific Book Authority as one of the best
100 scientific books during the period 1978-1987. It was the
first book in Thai describing the history of ornamental Nymphaea
in Thailand. It includes the taxonomy and botanical description
of the plant, introducing and describing over 50 Nymphaea
cultivars that can grow in the country.
N. 'Chompoo Nix',
Mr. Roengsak hybrid
With close cooperation among waterlily lovers, new waterlily
hybrids were developed and released. The famous N. Mangkala
Ubol, bred by Dr. N. Nopchai Chansipa from Bangphra Technology
University at Chonburi Province, won IWGSs Best New Hardy
Waterlily of 2004. Other of Dr. Nopchais hardy hybrids
released after 1998 are N. Chao Sao Natee,
N. Sri Bangpra and many more.
The well-known N. King of Siam, a very
popular tropical day blooming hybrid developed by Mr.Chaiyapon
Tamasuwan in 1996, still attracts great demand in the USA. His
other hybrids N. Sriwichai and N. Love
on Fire won the third and the first best new tropical day
blooming waterlily in the contest at the Thai-IWGS Symposium
2007 at Rama IX Public Park in Bangkok.
The most famous hardy waterlily hybridizer from Thailand is
Mr. Pairat Songpanich. His hardy hybrids won the IWGS Best New
Hardy Waterlily contest almost every year since 2006. His winning
hardies were: N. Tan-Khwan in 2006, N.
Miss Siam in 2007, N. Tanpong
at Thai-IWGS Symposium 2007.
Lately he has been able to develop the first blue hardy waterlily,
the most desirable lily awaited for more than hundred years by
waterlily fanatics all over the world. He named this wonderful
hybrid N. Siam Blue Hardy in 2008. The Plant
Breeding and Multiplication Society of Thailand gave the Best
Plant Breeder Award to him in December 2008.
'Siam Blue Hardy' >
Overview of the economic value
of waterlilies and lotus in Thailand.
1. Lotus product earning groups are separated into two categories.
1.1 Those who harvest flowers, seeds and roots of lotus from
natural public wetlands around the country.
1.2 Planters who cultivate the lotus and collect its products
for the wholesale market in urban areas near big cities such
as Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Nakornpathom and PathumTani.
2. The ornamental waterlily growers for selling in Thailand
are in two groups.
2.1 Producers of mixed unknown tropical waterlily cultivars
and the easy cultivars of hardy waterlilies. They are located
near main cities such as Nonthaburi and Supanburi.
2.2 The professional group selling known cultivars from tuber,
rhizome, shoot or sprout. Selling places of this group are their
own nurseries or private houses of well known technicians, teachers
3. The exporters who collect propagated materials from group
1 or 2 in large quantities and export to other countries.
Thailand can contribute to waterlily development in many ways
such as hybrid technology, pre- and post-harvest technology,
molecular and gene transfer technology.
Waterlilies packaged for sale
* Pang U Bon 1 was the house where Dr.Slearmlarp
lived from 1969 to 1977 before moving to the present Pang U Bon.
Gallery of Thai Cultivars