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Planned Dokkhoun Hawaii flower scheme to provide tourist attraction in Laos

Agroup of Lao people and their friends plan to see a roadside by the capital's Mekong Riverside lined with Dokkhoun Hawaii trees (Rain Shower flower tree) to create cool shade in a tourism hot spot.

The tree plantation project is an initial idea of Mr Chanthavong Saignasith, a resident of Luang Prabang province, who visited Hawaii recently. From June to September it is wet season in Laos. As the result, it is a good time for grafting and planting Rain Shower flower trees at this time of the year when the survival rate of the trees should be high.

A sample of Dokkhoun Hawaii in Hawaii, the United States.

Mr Chanthavong, who is also a former Secretary General of the Lao National Mekong Committee Secretariat, with his friend, Vice President of Kobe Green Power Company Mr Vilay Soulatha, are expected to plant some 2,000 Dokkhoun Hawaii trees along the road in Sithan-neua village through to Kaoliew village in Sikhottabong district, the west of Vientiane.

“If we start to conduct the Dokkoun Hawaii plantation project in this area early, we expect that by year 2025 or earlier, we can make the area from Vat Sithan-neua to Kaoliew to become a Dokkhoun Hawaii Blossom Festival in May to August every year from 2025 onward,” said Mr Vilay Soulatha, who met with Vientiane reporters recently. He thought that this will be similar to Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington DC, the United States.

To achieve this pilot project, they have already made an agreement with Haddokkeo Agriculture Research Institute in Hadxaifong district in Vientiane for the layering of 2,000 saplings.

The expansion of Rain Shower flower tree can only be done by the grafting method instead of using seeds, because the tree has flowers rather than fruit.

However, Mr Chanthavong and Mr Vilay Soulatha, who discussed the plan with Vientiane Times , were saying that they want involved authorities to take care of the saplings after planting by watering and providing organic fertiliser regularly to the young trees.

Mr Chanthavong and his friends brought some 20 Rain Shower flower trees from Hue Municipality of Vietnam to plant in Chao Anouvong Park in Vientiane in 2014 as a pilot project. The trees had already grown in Hue Municipality of Vietnam in 2009.

Today, the planted Rain Shower flower trees in Chao Anouvong Park are over 2m high, and they are blooming with red, pink and white flowers. In Chao Anouvong Park in Vientiane, this flower is regularly blossoming in May to August.

Native to Hawaii, the charming flower has blossoms of pink, red, white and yellow. Hoping to promote the attractiveness of the blossoming rainbow shower flowers, Mr Chanthavong kept asking friends to bring Rain Shower flower tree to plant other places in Laos, especially in Luang Prabang province, a World Heritage City of Laos. Then he also was allowed to bring 50 Rain Shower flower saplings to plant in Luang Prabang in Lao Arbour Day this year (June 1).

Trees were planted in public parks, where tourists and local residents like to sit under the shade after work.

In addition, Luang Prabang also asked for additional 20 saplings of Rain Shower flower treeto plant at That Luang ground in Luang Prabang province.

Mr Chanthavong said the main objective of the tree planting in Luang Prabang was to attract more and more tourists to visit the city in the years to come.

Today, Luang Prabang residents are happy to see the first flower blossoms at the public park. “We hope that this flower can be one of many options to promote tourism to the province,” he said.

So far, government authorities of Thakhaek district, Khammuan province, have already expressed their need to plant about 500 Rain Shower flower trees to promote tourism activities in their own province.

In Laos, there is a common Dokkhoun species known as Indian laburnum , or golden shower, which is in full bloom in April during Pi Mai Lao that blossoms for a couple of weeks.

These beautiful Dokkhoun flowers in their cheerful yellow bloom throughout the country are a welcome sight around April.

Just before Lao New Year festival faithful Buddhists will be collecting these flowers along with Dok Champa (frangipani flower), a Lao national flower, to take to temples as part of the religious rituals for Lao New Year festival.

In addition to growing Rain Shower flower trees, Laos also grows Sakura flowers at the Lao-Japan Friendship Sakura Park in Viengxay district, Huaphan province.

A technical authority of Agriculture and Forestry Section in Viengxay district Mr Outhone Bounvilay told Vientiane Times recently that the park would temporarily prohibit general admittance for the next three months in order to repair the damage sustained to facilities inside the park at night time that was caused by unknown persons.

So far, the installation of a fence at the park has been completed to stop anyone getting into the park. In addition, there are some staff to guide tourists who want to visit the park during the day.

The Sakura trees are still in an early period of growth and too young to flower yet, but still they are already attracting tourists to visit the park with over 300 planted.

Mr Outhone said the district first planted ten trees as a pilot in 2014 before the park was officially opened in 2015, supported by a non-governmental organisation called Asian Development with Disabled Persons (ADDP) through Embassy of Japan to Laos.

After the specimens from the pilot project grew well, the ADDP and Embassy of Japan proceeded with a plan to plant more to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Lao-Japan diplomatic relations, bringing the total planted to 303.

The Lao government proffered four elephants from Xayaboury province as a present to Japan to mark the same anniversary.

Together such efforts, just as the flowers, will serve to beautify Laos and strengthen bonds alike.

 

By Times Reporters
(Latest Update August 5, 2017)


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