International Symposium on Medicinal and Aromatic Plants Held in Chiang Mai

The International Symposium on Medicinal and Aromatic Plants was recently held last December 15-18, 2011 at the Empress Hotel in Chaing Mai, Thailand, after a one month postponement due to the heavy flooding that affected the country. Despite the postponement, the event, organized by Thailand’s Department of Agriculture, Horticultural Science Society of Thailand, and the International Society for Horticultural Science, was a success and was attended by over 200 researchers mainly from Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Japan, India, and countries in the Mediterranean region. The event highlighted MAPs research in Asia and covered at least 45 oral presentations and 25 poster presentation on the fields of natural production and processing technology, pharmacodynamics of natural substances, and agriculture and production. A total of 4 papers were presented from the Philippines, all by natural product researchers from Baguio.

Ornamental Turmeric
Ornamental turmeric as an entry for flower arrangement

The International Symposium on Medicinal and Aromatic Plants was one of several international conferences held in the Chiang Mai during the 3 months celebration of the Royal Flora Ratchaphruek 2011: International Horticultural Exposition. Other conferences/workshops held last December included the International Harmonization Workshop on Standards for Fresh Fruit and Vegetables for Asian Countries, the 3rd International Symposium on Papaya, and The International Symposium on Tropical and Subtropical Fruits.

Ornamental Turmeric
Ornamental vegetable varieties - nurturing and beautifying for the urban farmer

After the conference, participants were treated to field trips at the Bee Product Industry Co., Ltd., the Tweechol Botanic Garden, and the Medicinal Plants Production and Utilization Center at the Lampang Medicinal Plants Community Hospital. The highlight of the conference tour was a one day visit to the Royal Flora Ratchaphruek Fair, a sprawling 80 hectare land in Mae Hia district of Chiang Mai. The park boasts thousands of species of tropical plants and flowers, state of the art horticultural exhibits, and pavilions from over 30 countries around the world. The event celebrates the three auspicious occasions in Thailand - HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s 84th birthday anniversary in 2011, Queen Sirikit’s 80th birthday anniversary and Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn’s 60 birthday anniversary - and will run until March 14, 2012.