Carnivorous Plants at Phu Phan National Park, Thailand

Landscape of a seep with carnivorous plants at Phu Phan National Park in Thailand

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.

Drosera burmannii
Drosera burmannii

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 plant detail

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.

Drosera indica growing in water seeping across rocks

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 plant grow at Phu Phan National Park

Green Drosera indica at Phu Phan

Drosera indica flower

I'm a fan of the red plants. They look rather like Drosera hartmeyerorum, which I've observed at length in cultivation.

Utricularia bifida flower

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.

Utricularia bifida scape with multiple flowers

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...

Utricularia minutissima flower

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.

Drosera burmannii growing in sand at Phu Phan National Park

The Drosera burmannii at Phu Phan were also striking with plants often growing in very wet areas indeed; some were quite inundated.

Drosera burmannii in water at Phu Phan National Park

Drosera burmannii growing in water

Trail at Phu Phan National Park, Thailand

Area around the cp seeps

Waterfall at Phu Phan National Park, Thailand

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.

Dragonfly at Phu Phan National Park, Thailand

Who knows, the fauna might also be a bit of a draw.

Written on July 8, 2011