The Rumduol Flower

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Do you know what it is, my dear? It is the scent of a woman. And soon that is what you will be. A woman. – Hotel owner’s wife


The Rumduol flower (Mitrella mesnyi) is the national flower of Cambodia. It is well known for its strong fragrance, which is particularly redolent in the late afternoon or early evening. Rumduol trees are prolific in Cambodia, and while usually planted as a decorative tree, they often grow wild.

The scent of the Rumduol flower is traditionally associated with femininity, and in the 1960s it famously featured in a celebrated song by the popular Cambodian singer, Sin Sisamouth (‘Rumduol Dong Steung Siem Reap’).

While only referred to directly once, in the prologue, the flower and the scent feature several times in the book, as does the song.

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