I stopped by Phu Phan National Park on a trip around north-east Thailand a couple years ago. I had read that a few species of carnivorous plants might grow there which is precisely the sort of thing most likely to influence my choice of travel destinations.
Getting to Phu Phan required a couple different modes of transportation; first a rural bus or two before the last leg of the journey in the back a pickup truck (a common bus of sorts in rural south-east Asia).
Drosera indica up close
Phu Phan is past the normal route for truck I took which posed a bit of a problem when I went to leave the park the following day. The trip out of the park involved a good bit of walking, quite a few miles on the back of a small moped (along with two other riders), a ride in a tax collector’s truck and finally a bus of some variety at the end. Rather colorful really. The moped broke down repeatedly and the driver was a bit drunk.
Red Drosera indica in slowly moving water
Observing the Drosera indica was justification enough for visiting Thailand. The plants were stunning. Many were in bloom and the color of their foliage ranged from a pleasant light green to a striking red hue.
Green Drosera indica at Phu Phan
I’m a fan of the red plants. They look rather like Drosera hartmeyerorum, which I’ve observed at length in cultivation.
There were lots of blooming Utricularia - U. bifida among them - but a ranger at the park said that it was the off season for Utricularia flowers. Apparently many areas are completely carpeted in inflorescences when things really get going.
I went to the park armed with the Thai names for Utricularia, Drosera and Nepenthes but the ranger only knew about Utricularia, oddly enough. I read somewhere that the Queen of Thailand has a weakness for Utricularia…
I’m calling this plant U. minutissima because I don’t have a key handy and am fairly certain it isn’t U. delphinoides, U. bifida, U. caerulea or U. hirta, the other Utricularia species I’ve seen listed as growing in Phu Phan.
The Drosera burmannii at Phu Phan were also striking with plants often growing in very wet areas indeed; some were quite inundated.
Drosera burmannii growing in water
Area around the carnivorous plant seeps
Most folks apparently come to Phu Phan to see things like waterfalls. I like the carnivorous plants better generally but admit the scenery was quite nice.
Who knows, the fauna might also be a bit of a draw.
- Comparative Morphology of Insectivorous Plants Genus Utricularia L. in Phu Phan National Park, Sakonnakhon Province - If that link doesn’t work, try the backup on the Internet Archive