The Botanist's Corner

by Pauline Dy Phon & Pascal Medeville & Angkor Database

Publication: ADB Special Online Projects

Published: 2021

Pages: 1

The work of Pauline Dy Phon (1933-2010)

Further Readings

Herbal Medicine in Cambodia

Pascal Medeville's Notices on Tela Botanica

The author completes the botanical description of each species with the cultural context in which it appears in Cambodian history and culture (in French).

Going greener


Profile of evergreen swamp forest showing the characteristic species. Height and length approximately 35×50 m. (1) Shorea guiso, (2) Archidendron clypearia, (3) Areca triandra, (4) Sindora siamensis, (5) Myristica iners, (6) Fagraea racemosa, (7) Livistona saribus, (8) Macaranga triloba, (9) Licuala spinosa, (10) Eugenia albiflora, (11) Cibotium barometz. (12) Litsea sp. (13) Dipterocarpus costatus, (14) Pternandra caerulescens (from Evergreen swamp forest in Cambodia..., op.cit.)

Tags: botanic, fauna and flora, Cambodian forest, wood, heritage conservation, biodiversity, biodiversity conservation

About the Authors

Portrait of Pauline   Dy Phon

Pauline Dy Phon

Pauline Dy Phon (ប៉ូលីន ឌី ផុន) (1933-21 May 2010) was a Cambodian botanist specialized in the flora of Southeast Asia.

After graduating from the Paris Faculty of Sciences in 1959, Pauline Dy Phon taught at Phnom Penh Lycée Sisowath before becoming a teacher and researcher with the University of Phnom Penh until 1975. She had obtained her doctorate in botanic from Toulouse University in 1969.

After surviving the Khmer Rouge regime,transiting through the Khao I Dang refugee camp and escaping to France -- her only written account of the Khmer Rouge period, published in 1982, was a study of “plants in the Khmer diet in normal times and in times of famine” --, she worked at the Botanical Laboratory of the Musée d'Histoire Naturelle (National Museum of Natural History), identifying and classifying plants of Cambodia and Indochina. One of the few women botanists then, she was awarded for her discovery of five new species of Papilionaceae, Euchresta Bennet, Gueldenstaedtia Fischer, Medicago Linné, Parochetus Buchanan Hamilton and Tifidacanthus Merril.

Back to Cambodia from 1994, Pauline Dy Phon published in 2000 a 915-page Dictionary of plants used in Cambodia (Dictionnaire des plantes utilisées au Cambodge), with entries in French, English and Khmer. The year before, she had co-authored with Bernard Rollet the Lexique des Arbres Forestiers du Cambodge (EFEO Publications, 1999).


Dr. Pauline Dy Phong young (Obituary cover page of Chatomukh journal, Jan. 2010)


On this photo dated 7 Dec. 1979, at Khao I Dang refugee camp, Pauline Dy Phon (right) meets again with an old friend from her student years and colleague, Marie-Augustine Martin (MAM), a reputed ethnographer and botanist who had extensively worked in Cambodia (from G. Condaminas and R. Pottier, Les réfugiés ordinaires de l'Asie du Sud-Est, Paris, 1982)

Selected Bibliography:

  • 1962 Practical works of micrography and plant morphology for the use of students in SPCN-PCB, 2 vol., 200 p, Phnom Penh
  • 1964 List of medicinal plants used in pharmacopoeia in Cambodia, Phnom Penh
  • 1968 Flora and vegetation of the Kirirom plateau and its surroundings, Annales Faculty of Sciences, Phnom Penh University
  • 1970 The vegetation of Southwest Cambodia (published thesis, part I, Annales Faculty of Sciences, Phnom Penh University 1971 The vegetation of South-West Cambodia, (part II)
  • 1972 (with M.A. Martin) Botanical Guide to the City of Phnom Penh, Annales Faculty of Sciences, Phnom Penh University
  • 1975 Illustrated Flora of Cambodia, Phnom Penh, with 950 color photos (work lost during the Khmer Rouge era)
  • 1981 (with Jules Émile Vidal) Ecological factors and vegetation of Cambodia, Seksa Khmer, n. 3-4
  • 1982 Plants in the Khmer diet in normal times and in times of famine, CEDRASEMI Paris - Brief overview on Cambodian forests, Seksa Khmer, n. 5
  • 1999 (with Bernard Rollet) Lexicon of forest trees of Cambodia, Paris
  • 2000 Plants used in Cambodia, Khmer ~ English – French dictionary, preface by Maurice Fontaine, Phnom Penh, 915 p
Portrait of Pascal   Medeville

Pascal Medeville

Pascal Medeville (8 Dec. 1962) is a professional translator and a writer specialized in Chinese civilization and language.

After studying Chinese and Khmer at INALCO Paris, and spending ten years in mainland China and Taiwan, he relocated to Cambodia, where he leads a professional agency and shares his discoveries on Khmer culture and linguistics on the blog Khmerologie (in French and Khmer).

Amongst his numerous centers of interest, botany comes high on the list, and Pascal Medeville conducts an ongoing research on herb and plant terminology and use in Asian societies, particularly in Cambodia.

Portrait of Angkor   Database

Angkor Database

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Indexed and reviewed books, online documentation, photo and film collections, enriched authors' biographies, searchable publications.

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