The Last Cork Tree

By: Dawn SRV

Dec 30 2012

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Category: For the love of the river

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Focal Length:21.79mm
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I was not in a real New Year festive mood all that much this year. May be it’s because the first of January is the last day of the long break. Work starts again on the 2nd January. We usually have a family New Year party at home. So, the holiday is spent on preparation. Despite that, I managed to find a day doing what I’ve done for a few years until now – walking along the old part of Bangkok. I thought it would be nice once in a year to walk along a road where I don’t pass by very often.

121230 Phra Arthit Road
Phra Arthit is a very short road running along Chao Phraya River. It runs in parallel with the famous Khaosan Road. There seems to be many large and important buildings along this less than one kilometre road. Manors of olden day’s princes and barons have been taken over and turned into offices or museum. Since I’m around, I might as well visit a historical site in the area. It is an old fort since early Bangkok. Now the city has built a park around the area.

121230 LampooStump
I walked along to see the stump of the last cork tree in the park. Its scientific name is Sonneratia caseolaris Engl. In Thai, it is called ‘Lampoo’, hence the district’s name Bang Lampoo, meaning a place full of Lampoo tree. This kind of tree can be found in both fresh and brackish water, where the tide ebbs and rises. This particular tree was more than a hundred years old when it became famous in 1997 as the last Lampoo tree in the district. The community treasured it well. Last year, we had an unnatural disastrous flood. Water level was higher than its breathing roots (pneumatophore) for a long time. Coupled with its age, the tree could not cope with such tough situation and gradually died. Bangkok Metropolitan Authority cut down the dead trunk in July 2012. Although another younger tree grows nearby, the community seems to still miss the old one.


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