Conservation efforts underway for Myanmar’s native ‘Pride of Burma’ plant

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The inflorescences of a Golden shower tree are seen dangling from the branches.

Conservation and public education works will be carried out to conserve Golden shower or locally known as Large Golden shower or Amherstia nobilis plant native to Myanmar, as the species is in a state of near extinction, according to the Native Species Conservation and Identification in Myanmar (NSCI) group.
The British botanist Sarah Amherst (1762–1838) is credited with making the initial discovery, identification, and documentation of the medium-sized plant in Taninthayi Region in 1826 that is typically found in evergreen tropical forests. He named the plant as ‘Pride of Burma’ before the plant took the scientific name of Amherstia nobilis Wall.
The leaves of the Golden shower plant tend to hang down. Inflorescence of about one and a half feet long dangled from the branches usually contain 20 to 26 red flowers. A flower has a total of five petals, and two of them are very small. The remaining three petals are different in size. The largest petal is 7.5 cm long and about 4 cm wide, and has the shape of a fan. The lower part of such petal is white, with red spots in the middle and a yellow mark at the tip, according to the NSCI.
“When the flowers bloom, it is so beautiful that it looks like as if big red glass lanterns are hanging from the plant. Due to its unique flower appearance and beautiful colour, Golden shower is also dubbed the ‘Queen of Flowering Trees’. In addition, the flower is also called “Orchid flower” because it resembles an orchid flower. The fact that the plant is native to Myanmar is a matter of pride, but these plants are almost extinct on the land of Myanmar. Therefore, I would like to encourage people to plant this tree to be able to conserve it. The plants can be propagated from seeds or by air-layering method. We will encourage people to reproduce and cultivate with these methods,” said Ko Min Khant Naing, a researcher from the NSCI.
NSCI employs local and expatriate experts to conduct on-ground works to record Myanmar’s biodiversity species and also to carry out services such as the identification of species and publishing articles on the conservation of biodiversity as well as myths and facts about some plants and animals. — ASH/TH

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