Nine Reasons for Traditional
Beliefs In Thailand's Auspicious Trees
For many people, the month of December is an auspicious month as it features several important dates. The birthday of H.M. King Bhumibol (5th), the formalizing of Thailand's Constitution (10th) and the Christian Celebration of the birth of Christ. On this auspicious month it, therefore, seems appropriate to mention Thailand's Nine Auspicious Trees and to illustrate H.M. The King watering the tree saplings to indicate his care for the environment and the nourishment of his kingdom.
In former times, when people did not huddle in city condominiums, offices or housing estates, when people had more time and interest in beautifying the land surrounding them, it was standard practice that trees were planted for reasons of belief as well as beauty. In particular, the planting of nine trees each with its own qualities of "magic" was regarded as being most beneficial and auspicious. So persons of rank or nobility, who had large gardens, would have nine such trees planted in the prescribed order while villagers would do similar within the compound of the local temple (the temple being at the heart of any village). The trees were not planted at random but according to ancient beliefs in which was the most auspicious order. The Nine Auspicious Trees are:-
The Pink Cassia or Javanese Cassia Tree which will bring good luck, ensure continued high rank and afford victory in all matters. The Javanese Cassia (Cassia Javanica Linn) is an umbrella shaped tree, rising to a height of 15 meters, which produces a display of pink blossoms during Thailand's hot season, Feb-April.
The Golden Shower Tree which will accord high position, power and respect from all. The Golden Shower (Cassia fistula linn also known as Laburnum) shows brilliant yellow blossoms during February and May, which hang in a cascade from the branches, during the hot, dry season. It, too, can grow to a height of 15 meters. This is Thailand's national tree, especially for auspicious ceremonies and important events. The golden shower wood is used in the city pillar foundation ceremony, used as a flag pole during armed forces parade. As a matter of fact, some parts of this tree can be used as herbal medicine, particularly fever, common cold, influenza, constipation, skin infection, etc. depending on the part of the tree e.g. flowers, fruits, root, bark.
The Coral Tree which will bring an abundance of gold, silver, money, property and material possessions. The Coral Tree (Erythrina orientalis Linn. Merr) is a winter blooming tree, from 10-15 meters in height, which shows bright orange/red blossoms shaped like a claw during February-May. Any part of the Coral Tree can be used for auspicious ceremonies e.g. house or stone foundation, wedding, etc. It is a softwood tree which grows near water and it slowly converts the soil into mulch as natural fertilizer.
A Bamboo Thicket which assured personal progress along with physical and mental well-being. Bamboo (genus Phyllostachys), of the grass family rather than a tree, comes in a variety of types from slim and willowy to sturdy and strong. Growing in clumps up to 15 meters high, the common variety provides construction material for shelter, for making decorative items and utensils and the young shoots may be used as food.
The Tembusa Tree gives protection against all types of danger and imbalances. The Tembusa Tree (Wrightia arborea) is deciduous and can grow to a soaring 20 meters. A white flower sometimes tinged with yellow or green, form in clusters while, in Fagraea fragrans specimens, the leaf has antimalarial and anti-asthmatic properties.
The Scrambled Eggs or Kalamona Tree gives security and offers its own unique "magic". People regard this tree for the best of wishes, goals, or hopes. A small tree is planted or its wood is used during an opening ceremony. The root can be taken for common fever. The Kalamona Tree (Senna Cassia surattensis) is a shrub, or small tree, up to 7 meters in height. Its clusters of bright yellow blossoms are sometimes referred to as "scrambled eggs" while the seedpods carry that special magic.
The Teak Tree provides power and strength coupled with success in personal ambitions. The Teak Tree (Tectona grandis) is well known throughout the world for its hardwood timber properties. It can tower to a majestic 30 meters tall with a trunk diameter of 6 feet (180 cms). It is leafless from January to April. The stem bark is taken for diarrhea and the wood is a carminative.
The Siamese Rosewood Tree or Blackwood Tree will offer support for personal self-image in respect, prestige and status. In terms of superstition, this tree will protect the believers from enemies and danger. The Siamese Rosewood Tree is strong and solid timber which easily convinces the believers in mental strength. Any part of this tree can be used for auspicious ceremonies. The tree can grow up to 20 meters in height with big green shrub. Its purple flower blooms with a strong odor in summer. The Siamese Rosewood tree could be grown as an economical timber for construction purposes.
The Jackfruit Tree will seal any loopholes that may have been overlooked in one's personal assurances. The Jackfruit Tree (Artocarpus heterophylla) is evergreen and grows to around 15 meters tall. It produces extremely large, and heavy, fruit with a rough, "pebbled" skin. The yellow flesh segments within are aromatic and very popular for eating. On the other hand, the young fruit's skin can be peeled and cooked as curry with northern style taste. People also use the timber to build musical instruments and furniture. The big fruit's interior seeds are used for cloth dyeing for dark yellowish brown color. The Jackfruit Tree has long been in Thailand's history since Sukhothai era.
So these are Thailand's Nine Auspicious Trees. To ensure your own good fortune, they should be planted (from 1-8) in a clockwise rotation with the center being reserved for the Jackfruit Tree. Water the saplings well and share in Thailand's traditional beliefs of environmental protection.