Father of Thai Orchids, Prof Rapee Sagarik, Bids Farewell at 95

Father of Thai Orchids, Prof Rapee Sagarik, Bids Farewell at 95

Thailand is saddened by the death of esteemed horticulturist and orchid expert, Professor Rapee Sagarik. Get the full details in this article.

According to Bangkok Post, he passed away due to natural causes at the ripe age of 95 on February 17. He died at his family residence in the Ngam Wong Wan area.

Father of Thai Orchids

Dubbed as the “Father of Thai orchids,” Prof. Rapee dedicated his career to thorough researches on orchid plants, specifically the orchid species native in Thailand. He is lauded by the international orchid community for his successful orchid breeding and orchid conservation techniques.

Prof. Rapee who hails from Bangkok was a recognized student at the Samsen Witthayakhan and Wat Benjamabopit schools. He attended college at the Kasetsart University, formerly Kasetsart College, where he also served as a rector and as part of the faculty staff.  He also studied at the Faculty of Agriculture at Maejo University in Chiang Mai, Thailand and was deputy agriculture minister in the Kriangsak Chomanan government.

 Pecteilis sagarikii seident orchids

The Pecteilis sagarikii Seident orchids was named in honor of the renowned orchid expert. Otherwise called Hawkes Pecteilis, this orchid plant stands 3.5 inches in height and is found in the deciduous and bamboo forests of Myanmar and Thailand.

 “I planted my first tree on this land when I was young, and it is still alive. I watered it, fertilized it; it blooms beautifully and has been appreciated by all people. These flowers are not like the ones you see every day, which blossom and then wither away. These flowers will never die but will be passed on to future generations. So I name these flowers ‘love in humankind’,” Prof. Rapee was quoted saying about the orchid plant.

Thailand, world's leading orchid exporter

Based on the data of Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute or MDPI, an open-access, academic journal based in Basel, Switzerland, Thailand is the origin of roughly 1300 species and 180 to 190 genera of orchids, which makes up the major tropical orchids known in the world.

Despite being a paradise for exotic orchids, orchid growing wasn’t recorded in the country until 1913, a lucrative hobby that only high-ranking officials and wealthy men can afford to do so during those days.

The roots of orchid trade in Thailand goes far back in history. Only a small amount of Thai orchids were exported in foreign countries, such as those in Europe, until 1966.

Today, it is estimated that 54% of the orchids produced in Thailand are currently exported, while the remaining 46% is consumed in the domestic markets.

Many of popular orchids we see nowadays are cultivated from wild Thai orchids. These include Vanda, Rhynchostylis, Ascocentrum, Aerides, Phalaenopsis, Doritis, Dendrobium, Bulbophyllum, Cirrhopetalum, Spathoglottis, and Paphiopedilum.

The Dendrobium Pompadour is one of Thailand’s most famous orchid cultivars, which brought the country as world’s leading producer and exporter of orchids since 1979. Pompadour orchids are known for being easy to grow and to multiply by dividing, having generous flower yields, and long-lasting vase life.

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