Learning how to say the names of plants in Khmer is a surefire way to impress the locals when you take a trip to Cambodia. You see, plants and flowers hold an important
in the hearts of the Cambodian people. Not only do they look lovely, but they are used in everything from important ceremonies to delicious cooking and are even revered for their medicinal properties. Let’s get to know more about these in the sections below!
A Few Famous Cambodian Plants
Rumduol, Cambodia’s national flower, has fragrant yellow-white flowers, which are particularly sweet smelling in the early evening. The plant can grow as tall as 12 feet and bears a deep red fruit when ripe. As well as being used in traditional medicines to treat dizziness, fevers, and high blood pressure, Rumduol’s sweet-scented blooms have been used for generations to produce lip wax for ladies. The flower is considered so pretty that its name is even used in the Khmer language when referring to a beautiful Cambodian woman.
And it seems Cambodia’s flora also has a sense of humor. Pictures of Nepenthes Holdenii, also known as the “Penis Plant,” have gone viral on the internet because of their amusing shape. However, the Cambodian Ministry of Environment has asked that people refrain from picking the phallic flora as it is extremely rare. As always, folks, take nothing away but a photo.
No article about Cambodia’s plants can be complete without mentioning ស្រូវសាលី or srauvsaali. Wheat is grown everywhere as it is the country’s principal food and primary export. If you are served food in Cambodia, a side of rice is inevitable, which brings us to Cambodian herbs.
Tasty Cambodian Herbs
Many Cambodian herbs are important in Khmer cuisine, so let’s have a look at a few.
- Rice Paddy Herb – As its name suggests, this herb commonly grows in rice fields. It is used to give a tangy, lemony taste to soups.
- Lemongrass – A ubiquitous ingredient in Khmer cuisine, lemongrass can be chopped up and used in a salad or with fresh vegetables and other dishes or crushed slightly, tied in a bunch, and soaked in soups to release its unmistakable Asian flavors.
- Holy Basil – Unavoidable in Thailand and Cambodia, holy basil is used in delicious stir-fried pork dishes and on other fresh vegetables for vegetarians who enjoy the taste.
- Moringa Plant – Crushed up and used in soups, moringa is rich in potassium and vitamin C and is an excellent cure for stomach problems and is also used as an antibiotic.
- Kaffir Lime Leaves – Widely used in dishes across southeast Asia, kaffir lime lends an intense citrus zest to dishes. If you have ever tasted the famed Tom Yum soup from Thai cuisine, you will know what I mean.
- Morning Glory – Also known as water spinach, this is a popular ingredient as it is commonly found growing in waterways across Cambodia. The young leaves are especially tasty when fried with chilies.
- Water Lily – The purple-pinkish stems of the water lily are used to add flavor and a dash of color to salads and soups.
- Fish Mint – Also known as fish wort, or heart leaf, this herb has a much stronger taste and, as such, is an acquired taste.
- Flamingo Bill – These flowers from the Hummingbird Tree are not only beautiful but also tasty when used in soup recipes. Flamingo Bill has been used in Ayurveda traditional medicine for centuries.
Cambodian Herbs You Will Find At The Market
Here is a handy list of Cambodian herbs to take to the restaurant or market.
|Rice paddy herb||ស្មៅស្រូវ||smaw srauv|
|Asian coriander||ស្លឹកខ្ទឹមអាស៊ី||sloekakhtoem asai|
|Water Hyacinth flowers||ផ្កា||Hyacinth phka|
|Kaffir lime leaves||ស្លឹក||kaffir lime sloek|
|Water spinach||ទឹក||spinach tuk spinach|
|Lemon Grass||ស្មៅក្រូចឆ្មា||smaw krauch chhma|
|Noni leaves||ស្លឹក||noni sloek noni|
|Star Gooseberry||ផ្កាយ||Gooseberry phkay|
|Water mimosa||មីម៉ូសាទឹក។||mi mau sa tuk|
Jungle Plants In Khmer
Rich soil and a subtropical climate means Cambodia is covered with an abundance of jungle and rainforest filled with a variety of plants and flowers. Here are some of the pretty plants that grow in them.
|Siam tulip tulip||សៀម||tulip siem|
|Tronum Bangkuey||ត្រុន បាងគឿ||tron bang kue|
|Chhnok thma||ឆ្នុកថ្ម||chhnok th|
|Tep porou||ទេព ព័រ||tep pr|
|Frangipani||ហ្វ្រង់ជីប៉ានី||hv r ng chi ba ni|
|Orchids||អ័រគីដេ||a r ki de|
By simply learning the names of some of the plants, you will get to appreciate better Cambodia and its natural beauty. Want to continue learning? Read below our most recommended platform!
Learn More With Ling App
If learning about some of the fabulous plants in Khmer indigenous to Cambodia has whetted your appetite to learn more, then why not download the Ling app?
With the Ling app always ready on your device, you can delve into the Khmer language at your own pace. What I personally love about it is that you can learn from the comfort of your own home or while on the go. When visiting a new country like Cambodia, everything becomes easier knowing that Ling is just a click away. So what are you waiting for? Give Ling a try today to learn Khmer and 60+ other languages! Download it now for FREE from the App Store or Google Play.