North Thailand Flora: trees, plants and flowers

Table of Contents

Forests of Northern Thailand

North Thailand Flora is a random collection of pictures and descriptions of trees, plants, and flowers. You might encounter these during our tours in the forest of North Thailand. We made almost all the photographs during tours and research trips in forests. We also visited botanical gardens, markets, and other places where you can find trees, plants, and flowers. It is an ongoing thing. We are constantly adding species to this section. A great place to visit and learn about forest and trees is the Huay Kaew Arboretum, at the foot of Doi Suthep

Blue skies and forests

The foothills of the Himalayas

The highlands of Northern Thailand are known as the foothills of the Himalayas. Forest types are evergreen forest, mixed deciduous forest, deciduous bamboo forest, deciduous dipterocarp forest, and pine forest. The dense montane rain forest was the original vegetation of North Thailand. Most of these old-growth forests have disappeared due to logging and swidden agricultural practices. The secondary forest has replaced the old-growth forest in most areas

Let’s make one thing clear: the forest in North Thailand is not a rain forest. The tropical islands of Southeast Asia support dense rainforests. In Thailand, you can find rain forests in the South, close to the Malaysian border. In a rain forest, it rains every day: there is no dry season. In North Thailand, the dry season is from November until May.

Forest panorama
Forest view

Bamboo deciduous forest

Deciduous trees and bamboo dominate this type of forest. Deciduous trees lose their leaves seasonally. You can find this forest type on Doi Suthep and in the Chiang Dao area.

Two men next to very big bamboo
Giant Bamboo in Doi Pui-Doi Suthep National Park

Deciduous dipterocarp forest

Dry deciduous dipterocarp forest is typical to mountain areas. In the north, it is native to areas where the soil is shallow and very dry. The trees are usually small. You can find this type of forest in all national parks in the North.

Chaeson Forest View
Chaeson Forest

Mixed deciduous forest

These forests are not dense and populated by large and mid-sized trees. Bamboos generally grow in pockets in this type of forest. The soil is usually porous with sand mixed into it. During the dry season, the trees lose their leaves and forest fires generally sweep these areas once a year. When the rainy season arrives, the forest would then become green and lush. Mixed deciduous forests of the north include teak trees.
Tree tops at Doi Inthanon National Park
Doi Inthanon cloud forest

Hill evergreen forest

You will find hill evergreen forest in North Thailand at altitudes of over 1.000 meters above sea level. Just under the summit of Doi Inthanon, you will encounter this type of forest.

Hill evergreen forest is less dense than tropical evergreen forest because it has fewer large trees. This type of forest is green all year round. The climate is quite cold because it is found at high altitudes. The hill evergreen forest is significant to the preservation of water sources.

Ferns and mosses on trees in evergreen forest
Fern foliage on Doi Inthanon

Pine forest

Pine forest is found in the north at altitudes of over 1.000 meters above sea level. You will encounter pine forests on Doi Inthanon and in Doi Pui-Doi Suthep and Huay Nam Dang National Parks.

Giant pine trees Doi Inthanon
Phamon-Khun Puay pine forest