Kan phai Mahidol , the Symbolic Plant of Mahidol University
Sasivimon Swangpol and Thaya Jenjittikul
Kan phai Mahidol ( Afgekia mahidoliae B. L. Burtt & Chermsir. ) , the symbolic plants of Mahidol University, was named to commemorate the late Princess Mother, Somdej Phra Sri Nakarindra Boromarajajonnani (then Princess Srisangwan Mahidol). It is a rare tropical plant found in limestone mountains in the western side of Thailand . One among only three known species in the genus, A. mahidoliae is a climber in the pea family (Fabaceae). The plant possesses purplish and whitish pea-like florets in inflorescences which are usually in blooms during August to November. The plant was found in Sai Yok, Kanchanaburi in 1967 by a Thai botanist, Kasem Chandraprasong and the named was published in Notes from the Botanic Garden Edinburgh Vol. 31 No. 1 July 1971 by a Scotish, Mr. B.L. Burtt and Assistant Professor Dr. Jirayupin (Chermsirivathana) Chandraprasong. The Thai name ‘ Kan phai Mahidol' was suggested by the late Professor Tem Smitinand, the former Director of the Flora of Thailand Project, because it belongs to the same genus as ‘ Kan phai' ( Afgekia sericea Craib). The Thai word for the plant ‘ Kan phai' ( กันภัย), means ‘protecting from threat', appeared in the famous Thai epic ‘Khun Chang Khun Phan', as a captivating vine in a sacrament.
Kan phai Mahidol was named the symbolic plant of Mahidol University in the 30 th Anniversary of the university in 1999. Recently, the specific epithet “ mahidolae ” was corrected to “ mahidoliae ” based on the latest version of the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature (Vienna code) , under Recommendation 60C .1.b.
Burtt, B.L. and Chermsirivathana, C. (1971) A Second Species of Afgekia (Leguminosae). Notes from the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh 31(1), 131-133.
McNeill, J. B., Burdet, F. R., Demoulin, H. M., Hawksworth, D. L., Marhold, K., Nicolson, D. H., Prado, J., Silva, P.C., Skog, J. E., Wiersema, J. H. & Turland, N. J. (editors). 2006. International Code of Botanical Nomenclature ( Vienna Code) . Gantner , Ruggell , Liechtenstein .
National Identity Office, 2006. Plant Species Named to Commemorate the Late Princess Mother, Somdej Phra Sri Nakarindra Boromarajajonnani : Kan phai Mahidol . Somdej Phra Sri Nakarindra Boromarajajonnani Garden -- In Thai. Amarin Printing and Publishing, Bangkok . p. 29-31.
Pharmaceutical Botany, Department of, Faculty of Pharmacy, Mahidol University , 1996. Native Medicinal Plants of Lanna -- In Thai . (Wongsatit Chuakul ed.), Faculty of Pharmacy, Mahidol University , Bangkok .
Smitinand, T. 2001. Thai Plant Names . Revised Edition. The Forest Herbarium, Royal Forest Department, Bangkok .
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Department of Plant Science, Faculty of Science, Mahidol University
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