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Discovering Thismia submucronata: Thailand’s Hidden Botanical Marvel with Sarawut Thongmuang

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In the heart of 2018, a diminutive botanical marvel named Thismia submucronata sprung into the spotlight, captivating the scientific community with its unusual dining habits. Far removed from the conventional photosynthetic crowd, this tiny myco-heterotrophic organism shuns the sun, instead gleaning its sustenance from the fungus it cozies up to in the soil. Marking its entry into the annals of science, a paper detailing the intricacies of Thismia submucronata was heralded across various scientific and botanical journals as a groundbreaking discovery straight out of Thailand’s lush landscapes.

At first glance, it could easily be mistaken for its botanical cousin, T. mucronata. Yet, upon closer inspection, it flaunts distinct features that set it apart – most notably, the presence of three foveae, a rare feature that crowns the apex of its mitre with a mucro. Its stamen filaments and annulus don a coat of papillate hairs on both surfaces, a stylish touch that distinguishes Thismia submucronata in the plant kingdom.

Much like hidden treasures, Thismia submucronata reveals itself in only a select few locales – notably the Phu Hin Rong Kla National Park in Phitsanulok province and the Phu Suan Sai National Park in Loei province. Yet, adventurous botanists speculate that this elusive plant might be playing an extended game of hide and seek, possibly flourishing in other corners of Northern and Northeastern Thailand, where similar climates and vegetation whisper hints of its mysterious presence.

Coined as the “Devil Eyes” by those fascinated by its enigmatic allure, this plant thrives under the dense canopy of moist evergreen forests. It’s a sight to behold, nestled among the leaf litter, thriving in the serene shadows near waterfalls or babbling streams, where it basks in the coolness of elevations ranging from 1,200 to 1,300 metres above sea level. The cycle of life unfolds from May to July, when Thismia submucronata bursts into a spectacle of flowering and fruiting, a testament to its resilience and the intricate dance of nature.

The discoveries and enchanting images of this botanical rarity have been brought to light thanks to the vigilant eyes and dedicated efforts of Sarawut Thongmuang, an esteemed official at the Phu Hin Rong Kla National Park, Department of National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation. Through his lens, we are granted a glimpse into the hidden world of Thismia submucronata, a plant that eschews the limelight yet undeniably commands our fascination and admiration.

So, the next time you find yourself wandering through the verdant realms of Thailand, spare a thought for the diminutive Thismia submucronata, a marvel of nature that proves, without a shadow of a doubt, that the most extraordinary wonders often come in the smallest of packages.


  1. GreenThumbJen March 23, 2024

    Fascinating read! It’s discoveries like these that remind us how much we have yet to learn about our planet. I hope we can protect these delicate ecosystems before it’s too late.

    • EcoWarrior92 March 23, 2024

      Absolutely agree! But, it’s not just about discovering new species; there’s a dire need for global action to protect our existing biodiversity. Often, such discoveries are overshadowed by the looming threat of climate change.

      • GreenThumbJen March 23, 2024

        True, the challenge is to balance our excitement over new discoveries with concrete actions to safeguard our planet. Sharing stories like these can hopefully inspire more people to join the cause.

    • SkepticalSam March 23, 2024

      Isn’t it ironic we’re discovering new species while others are going extinct? Seems like a drop in the ocean compared to the environmental issues we’re facing.

      • BioDiver March 23, 2024

        Every species plays a role in its ecosystem. Discovering new ones can provide valuable insights into biodiversity and how to protect it. It’s more than just a ‘drop in the ocean.’

  2. BotanicBobby March 23, 2024

    How do they even find these plants? It must take incredible patience and expertise to unearth such hidden gems.

    • MaggieMay March 23, 2024

      I think it’s a mix of luck, dedication, and lots of trudging through dense forests! The researchers’ passion really shines through. Highlighting their work helps emphasize the importance of conservation.

  3. NatureNerd March 23, 2024

    Calling it ‘Devil Eyes’ seems a bit off to me. Why not a name that reflects its beauty or unique ecological role? Labels matter, especially in how we perceive and value nature.

    • PetePoetic March 23, 2024

      Agreed. Names carry weight and influence perception. A name change could showcase its allure and importance rather than casting it in a sinister light.

      • BotanicBobby March 23, 2024

        Interesting point. Maybe the name adds to its mysterious charm? Either way, the focus should be on its ecological significance and what it can teach us about biodiversity.

    • CynicalCindy March 23, 2024

      I think the name’s catchy. It’s all marketing anyway. ‘Devil Eyes’ grabs attention more than some scientific jargon. It’s about getting people interested in the first place.

      • NatureNerd March 23, 2024

        True, it’s a balancing act between scientific accuracy and public appeal. Still, fostering an appreciation for these species is crucial, and sometimes names do make a difference.

  4. CuriousCat March 23, 2024

    Could there be medicinal properties in such plants? I feel like every new discovery in botany could hold the key to untold medical benefits.

    • DocHolliday March 23, 2024

      There’s always a possibility! Many modern medicines are derived from plants. The more we learn about these unique species, the better our chances of finding new treatments.

      • PharmaPhil March 23, 2024

        Spot on! But, the race to find those medicinal properties shouldn’t jeopardize the species’ survival. Sustainable research is key.

  5. TrailTrekker March 23, 2024

    Imagine coming across ‘Devil Eyes’ on a hike. I’m packing my bags for Thailand! Seriously though, how accessible are these areas to the average hiker?

    • WorldWanderer March 23, 2024

      Some national parks offer guided tours which might increase your chances. But always remember to respect the environment and leave no trace. It’s all about preserving these wonders for future generations.

  6. ConservatorChris March 23, 2024

    It’s crucial we highlight such discoveries to fund conservation efforts. Without proper funding and awareness, these rare species could disappear unnoticed.

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