The Monkey Flower Trees
Intania, the magazine of Chula Engineering, Issue 6, 2010
The two monkey flower trees planted in front of the Department of Mining and Petroleum Engineering building have a trunk circumference of 3 and 2.4 meters, providing shade. The person who planted them is Prof. Worawit Ngoeiphaibool, who nurtured for them with care. After finishing experiments in mining lab, he would have the students place the ore samples around both trees. Currently, the area around the two Monkey Flower trees have many kinds of ore surrounding it.
The two Monkey Flower trees are more than 60 years old, and have grown alongside the Department of Mining and Petroleum Engineering, which has produced many generations of graduates. The Monkey Flower trees were the first two trees planted in the Faculty of Engineering and are the symbols of the Department of Mining and Petroleum Engineering. The teachers and alumni explain to every class of students about the history of the two trees as follows:
“We (personnel and students) create the power of greatness, and the two Monkey Flower trees symbolize readiness, cooperation and unity.”
We appreciate, preserve, and pride ourselves in these two Monkey Flower trees...
Besides the students of the Department of Mining and Petroleum Engineering that enjoy the monkey flower trees, so do the other students and the general public, especially when the trees sprout their beautiful red flowers on a tree without leaves, similar to the Sakura (cherry blossom) trees of Japan. Hence, they are nicknamed “ซากุระประดู่แดง” (Monkey Flower Cherry Blossoms). When the monkey flowers fall off the trees, they cover the ground like a carpet or velvet. This happens early in the year (January to February), making it a warning that the final exams for the 2nd semester, and the graduation of senior students, is approaching.
Another tidbit of knowledge about the Monkey Flower tree: The Monkey Flower tree has the scientific name of Phyllocarpus Septentrionalis and is in the Fabaceae family. It is also known as Fire of Pakistan, and has an origin in Guatemala or South America.
Don't be surprised if you see a student, especially new students, passing the former Department of Mining and Petroleum Engineering building, and pay their respects to it, and don't see any spirit houses or Buddha images. We have asked certain mining teachers if there is a Buddha image or something else inside the building to which the students are paying respects, and they answered that they are paying respects to the petrified wood placed in front of the building.
The origin of the petrified wood is explained thusly:
When Prof. Worwait Ngoeiphaiboolwas responsible for the Department of Mining and Petroleum Engineering, he was an artist, and enjoyed planting trees and decorating the areas around the buildings. He planted many trees, including teak trees, which were forbidden trees. Anyone who wanted the land and cut down the teak trees would be subject to criminal proceedings.
Nobody knows where Prof. Worwait Ngoeiphaibool got the petrified wood. It had a size of about 50 x 80 cm. He placed it at the side entrance to the building. From the distance, anyone would think it was a piece of wood, but looking up close one would see it was not wood but rather stone.
In fact, it had originally been wood. It had been buried deep underground without oxygen, causing it to rot. Underground water flowing past it for at least 100 years caused the fibres of the wood to become inundated with silica, causing the whole wood to become silica. Silica is the same kind of mineral as quartz and amethyst, in a different crystallization.
Anything that is more than 100 years old is considered antique, and thus holy, so it would not hurt to pay respects to it.
As the Faculty of Engineering, Chulalongkorn University is currently collecting various stories about the Faculty over the past 100 years from various documents, the working committee believes that many stories or other interesting facts may be hidden amongst yearbooks or other publications.
So, in order to provide more complete details about the Faculty, if anyone has yearbooks, Piyamaharat books, or books on the history of the Faculty of Engineering, please send them to"
Office of the Dean, Faculty of Engineering, Chulalongkorn University, Phya Thai Road, Wangmai Sub-District, Pathumwan District, Bangkok 10330,or send it by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
After collection has been complete, the working committee will return the books to everyone.