New and noteworthy records of Gingers from North-east India

· Articles

Ramesh Kumar, S.K. Singh*, Sachin Sharma & A.A. Mao

Botanical Survey of India, Eastern Regional Centre, Shillong; sachinbsi2012@;
*Corresponding author: S.K. Singh, email:


The present paper includes Curcuma latifolia as new record for North-east India, Curcuma amada, Curcuma prakasha, Parakaempferia synantha are new to Mizoram, Gingiber roseum is new to Assam and Globba rubromaculata is new record for Meghalaya. The same are described along with field photographs.

Keywords Gingiber, noteworthy, North-east, India


Zingiberaceae is generally considered as one of the most important and valuable group of monocots. Members of this group are well known for their use as spice and condiments throughout the world. They are mostly terrestrial in nature and show enormous diversity in their floral morphology which attracts many students, teachers, botanists and researchers working on plant morphology and systematics. They prefer to grow in damp and humid shady places particularly in tropical forests and are distributed mostly in tropical and subtropical regions of the globe with maximum distribution in SE Asia. The greatest concentration of genera and species is in the Malesian region (Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, the Philippines and Papua New Guinea).

The family is represented by c. 52 genera and c. 1500 species in the world (Sirirugsa, 1999). In India, it is represented by 215 species with one variety falling under 20 genera. In North-east India the members are growing in preponderance and c. 122 species and one variety belonging to 19 genera are recorded (Baker, 1890; Rao & Verma, 1969, 1972; Jain & Prakash, 1995; Sabu, 2006; Sanoj et al., 2008; Kumar et al., 2011; Singh & Kumar, 2011; Thongam et al., 2013; Sabu et al., 2013; IPNI 2013).

During field explorations to the different North-eastern States particularly Assam, Meghalaya and Mizoram, authors collected the live rhizomatous plant materials from different places. The rhizomes of the same were planted in the experimental Botanic Garden of Botanical Survey of India, Shillong where they are flourishing very well. A detailed study of these flowering materials reveals six interesting species of which Curcuma latifolia is recorded here for the first time from North East India, Curcuma amada, Curcuma prakasha and Parakaempferia synantha are reported here first time from Mizoram, Zingiber roseum is new to Assam and Globba rubromaculata is reported for the first time from Meghalaya. The same are described here to facilitate their easier identification.

Taxonomic Treatment

Curcuma amada Roxb., Asiat. Res. 11: 341. 1810; Fl. Ind. 1: 33. 1820.

Rhizome large, mango odoured, light yellow in side, cylindrical, branched. Root fleshy, tuberless. Leafy shoot 30 – 60 cm high. Leaves 4 – 6, oblong-elliptic, oblong or oblanceolate, hyaline, acuminate, 40 – 60 × 12.5 – 17.8 cm, upper surface glabrous, lower puberulous. Inflorescence lateral or central; 15 – 30 cm long, covered with 5 – 6 sheaths, spike 7.5 – 15 cm long. Coma bracts light violet 5 – 7 in number, 4 – 5 × 2.0 – 2.5 cm; fertile bracts 9 – 12, white or pale green, orbicular – obtuse, 3.5 – 4 × 3.0 – 3.0 cm, slightly recurved. Flowers c. 4 cm long. Calyx 1 – 1.2 cm long, very thin, 3-lobed, minutely pubescent. Corolla tubular, c. 4 cm long, pale yellow, lobes unequal; dorsal lobe oblong-ovate, rounded; lateral lobe hooded, entire, glabrous. Lip slightly exceeding the corolla, 1.7 × 1.2 cm, elliptic, 3-lobed, lobes erect and apex very short, deflexed, emarginated, throat and centre deep yellow,rest of flower cream-coloured; lateral staminodes oblong, rounded, apex slightly recurved, glabrous, pale yellow. Stamen 4 mm long. Epigynous gland 2, linear, 6 mm long. Ovary trilocular, 3 mm across, villous.

Flowering: April – June.

Ecology: It grows in sandy, moist soil on exposed forest margins & river sides.

Distribution: India [Arunachal Pradesh, South India, W. Bengal, Mizoram – present report], Myanmar. Specimen examined: Rabung, Murlen National Park, Champhai, Mizoram, 25.09.2013, Ramesh Kumar & party 128717.

Note: This species is commonly known as mango ginger and widely cultivated throughout India. It is reported here first time for Mizoram from wild. It is closely allied to C. longa but can be easily differentiated by its pale yellow rhizome with mango aroma, pale yellow flowers and light violet coma bracts.

Curcuma latifolia Roscoe, Monandr. Pl. Scitam. t. 108.1825; Baker, Fl. Brit. India 6: 211. 1890.

Rhizome large; pendulous tuber conical (somewhat pear-like), pale yellow in side; palmate tubers very few, whitish yellow within. Leafy shoot 20 – 30 cm long, green. Leaves 40 – 60 × 15 – 25 cm, elliptic – lanceolate, upper surface glabrous, midrib purple; petioles long. Inflorescence radical spike, 15 – 25 cm long, rising up before the leaves. Coma bracts 6 – 9, ovate-obovate, acute, bright pink with green base, 5 – 7 × 2.0 – 2.5 cm; fertile bract c. 4 × 3.5 cm, striated, shiny green, glabrous. Bracteole 2.5 – 3 × 1.5 – 2 cm, ovate. Flower longer than the bract, 2 – 3 flowers in each bract. Calyx 0.8 – 1.2 cm long, tubular, 3-lobed, white, glabrous. Corolla tube c. 2 cm long, pale yellow; lobes equal, ovate-lanceolate; dorsal lobe 1 – 1.5 cm long, whitish yellow, mucronate, hood 2 – 3 mm long, creamy yellow, apex with a small tuft of white hairs; lateral lobes c. 1.7 × 1 cm, tip rounded, white, glabrous. Lip 2 – 2.5 × 1.5 cm, slightly lobed, reflected, yellow; middle lobe antheriferous, yellow with median dark yellow band, glabrous; lateral staminodes 1.25 – 1.5 × 0.5 – 0.7 cm, petal-like, subovate, yellow, tip rounded. Stamen yellow; anther short, compressed,
2-lobed, bicalcarate, spurred at base; style slender, tubular; stigma cup shaped. Ovary 0.6 × 0.4 cm, 3-locular, hairy.

Flowering: April – May.

Ecology: It occurs in exposed forest margins.

Distribution: India [W. Bengal, Western India, Mizoram – present report], Thailand.

Specimen examined: Rabung, Murlen National Park, Champhai, Mizoram, 25.09.2013, Ramesh Kumar & party 128716 & 128718.

Note: This species is earlier reported from W. Bengal, Western India and Thailand. The present report constitutes its first report from North-east India. It closely allied with C. zedoaria Rosc., but differs in having lamina pubescent beneath and smaller fertile and comma bract.

Curcuma prakasha S. Tripathi, Nordic J. Bot. 21: 549. 2001.

Rhizome 3 – 7 × 2.5 – 3.5 cm, ovate, conical, creamy yellow inside. Leafy shoot 30 – 45 cm high. Leaves petioled; petiole 6 – 8 cm long; ligule 1.5 – 2 mm long, rounded; lamina 20 – 30 × 9 – 12 cm, oblong-lanceolate, acuminate, entire, glabrous, midrib green. Inflorescence 8 × 4 cm, lateral spike; peduncle 5 – 7 cm long. Coma bracts 10 – 15, pinkish, 5 – 6 × 1.5 cm, tip acute; fertile bract 15 – 20, broadly ovate, acute, green with pink tip, 3.5 – 4 × 1.5 – 2 cm. Bracteole 2.0 – 2.5 × 0.8 – 1 cm, innermost smaller, white, membranous. Flower 4 – 4.5 cm long, 4 – 5 in each bract, pinkish yellow. Calyx c.1.2 cm long, white, 3-lobed. Corolla tube c. 2.5 cm long, pinkish. Dorsal lobe c. 1.5 × 0.5 cm, ovate-oblong, hooded, pink, pubescent; hood c. 2 mm long, pink; lateral lobes c. 1.5 × 1.2 cm, pinkish, glabrous, 5-nerved, tip rounded. Lip c. 2 × 2 cm, 3-lobed; middle lobe emarginate, light yellow, bifurcated at base; lateral staminodes c. 1.3 × 0.8 cm, subobovate, tip rounded, yellow. Stamen white, anther spured at base, spur c. 3 mm long, thecae parallel, connective pubescent on back. Epigynous glands 2, c. 3 mm long; style c. 3.5 cm long, filiform; stigma exerted above the anther, 3-lobed, funnel-shaped. Ovary c. 6 × 2 mm, 3-locular, pale yellow, hairy, ovules many.

Flowering: April – June.

Ecology: It occurs in exposed forest margins.

Distribution: India [Meghalaya, Mizoram – present report], endemic.

Specimen examined: Rabung, Murlen National Park, Champhai, Mizoram, 12.04.2013, Ramesh Kumar & party 128376.

Note: This endemic species was described by Tripathi (2001) from Baghmara, South Garo Hills, Meghalaya. Before the present report, it was not recorded from any region other than type locality, hence, it is extending the range of distribution from Meghalaya to Mizoram. This species is closely allied to C. neilgherrensis Wight. But former differs from the latter in absence of root tubers, long bracteole, short calyx and glabrous corolla tube (root tubers present, short bracteole, much larger calyx and pubescent corolla tube in C. neilgherrensis).

Globba rubromaculata J. Lal & D.M. Verma, Bull. Bot. Surv. India 29: 26. 1987 ‘1989’.

Erect, perennial herb, leafy shoot 0.8 – 1.2 m high. Rhizome short; roots many, fleshy to fibrous. Leaves short petioled, petiole 2 – 4 mm long, hairy; lamina 20 – 28 × 7.5 – 10 cm, elliptic – lanceolate, base rounded, leaf tapers towards apical end forming strongly acuminate, midrib and mature nerves on upper surface brownish rusty tomentose, lower surface purplish, velvety, pubescent. Ligule short, 2 – 3 mm long, obtuse, hairy; leaf sheaths hairy. Inflorescence panicled, 12 – 16 cm long, pubescent. Peduncle c. 1 cm long, pubescent, green. Bracts ovate, 6 – 8 mm long, pubescent, acute. Bracteoles oblong, 5 – 7 mm long, pubescent. Flowers 2 – 3 together, bright yellow, lip with twin deep purple patch at base. Calyx 7 – 8 mm long, glabrous, 3-lobed, lobes acute, pointed, persistent in fruit, yellow coloured. Corolla tube 2 – 2.2 cm long, densely pubescent, corolla lobe 0.7 × 4 mm, ovate, acute, 3-nerved, glabrous. Staminodes 6 – 4.5 mm, ovate, obtuse, 3-nerved. Lip obovate, 1 × 0.8 cm, 2-lobed, with 2 mm long basal auricles. Stamen filament 2 cm long; anthers lanceolate, 5 × 2.5 mm. Ovary ellipsoid, 4 mm long, 2.5 mm in diameter, 3-locular, glabrous. Epigynous gland two, 5 – 6 mm long. Fruit oblong, 3-lobed, unilocular, wrinkled, 1.5 – 2.2 cm long, green. Seed globose, 1.5 – 2 mm in diameter, purple coloured, glabrous.

Flowering: July – August.

Ecology: It is growing in sandy, moist soil on exposed forest margin at 500 – 700 msl.

Distribution: India [Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya – present report], endemic.

Specimen examined: West Garo Hill District, Nokrek Biosphere Reserve, 29.07.2013, Ramesh Kumar & party 125141.

Note: This endemic species was described by J. Lal & D. M. Verma (1989) from Ganga Lake, Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh. Before the present report, it was not recorded from any region other than type locality, hence, it is extending the range of distribution from Arunachal Pradesh to Mizoram. This species is closely allied to G. multiflora Wall. ex Baker, but distinctly differs in having longer corolla lobes and saffron colour lip with two red blotches.

Parakaempferia synantha A.S. Rao & D.M. Verma, Bull. Bot. Surv. India 11: 206.1969. Erect, perennial herb with creeping rhizome. Leafy shoot 30 – 50 cm high. Leaves 13 – 24 × 3 – 3.7 cm, pubescent beneath. Spikes 1 – 3, radical; peduncles 3 – 6 cm long, villous; rachis slender, villous; bracts 6 – 10, lanceolate, convolute 1.8 – 2.4 × 0.6 – 0.7 cm, 1-flowered. Flowers white with pinkish tinged; calyx c. 1 cm long, 3-lobed, split on one side; corolla tube as long as bract, white; corolla lobes oblong-lanceolate, 1.3 – 1.7 × 0.5 – 0.8 cm, white with pinkish tinged; lateral staminodes oblong, 1.6 – 1.8 × 0.6 – 0.7 cm, white with pinkish tinged. Lip obovate, 2.3 – 2.5 × 2.0 – 2.4 cm, emarginate, white with pinkish tinged and median fleshy band of twin close yellow lines from base to centre; filaments 2 mm long; connective c. 6 mm broad with inflexed edges, purple red; anther c. 8 mm long, crest subreniform, c. 6 × 8 mm, entire, with deflexed tip, purple red; ovary ellipsoid, villous, 3-celled.

Flowering: May – June.

Ecology: It occurs in exposed forest margins along canal.

Distribution: India [Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Mizoram – present report, endemic.

Specimen examined: Tualpui riverside, Murlen National Park, Champhai, Mizoram, 08.07.2013, Ramesh Kumar & party 128490.

Note: This endemic species was described by Rao and Verma (1969) from Chaldowa, North Lakhimpur Assam. This species is sole species under the genus till date. Recently, it is reported from Kanhe Wildlife Sanctuary, Arunachal Pradesh (Bhaumik et al., 2013). In present context it is reported for the first time from Mizoram.

Zingiber roseum (Roxb.) Roscoe, Trans. Linn. Soc. London 8: 348. 1807. Amomum roseum Roxb., Pl. Coromandel 2: 15. 1800.

Erect, rhizomatous, perennial herb; rhizome thick, fleshy, pale yellow. Leafy shoot c.1.0 m. Leaves sessile; ligule 2-lobed, c. 3 cm long, membranous; leaf blade oblong or oblong – lanceolate, c. 30 × 3 – 5 cm, adaxially glabrous, abaxially villous, acuminate. Inflorescences radical spike, ellipsoid, c. 6 cm, very dense; peduncle very short; bracts red, 3.5 – 4.5 cm, outer ones broadly ovate, inner ones ovate-lanceolate. Bracteoles shorter than bracts, linearlanceolate, notched at tip, sparsely hairy. Calyx tubular, green, c. 1.5 cm. Corolla tube white, c. 2 cm; lobes pale red, lanceolate. Lip white, oblong-cuneate, 3-lobed, shorter than corolla lobes, margin recurved, crisped; lateral lobes yellow, orbicular, very small. Stamen arching over and equaling lip; anther equaling connective appendage, c. 1 cm long; style long, filiform; stigma ciliate. Ovary c. 4 mm long, pubescent.

Flowering: May – June.

Ecology: It occurs in exposed forest margins.

Distribution: India [Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Western Ghats, Assam – present report], China, Myanmar, Thailand.

Specimen examined: Way to Kaziranga National Park, Assam, 24.07.2012, Ramesh Kumar & party 125140.

Note: this species was earlier reported from Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Western Ghats, Meghalaya and Manipur. It is reported here for the first time from Assam.


Authors are grateful to Director, Botanical Survey of India, Kolkata for facilities and Prof. M. Sabu, University of Calicut, Kerala for helping in identification (Curcuma prakasha & C. latifolia). Thanks are due to the officials of Forest Department of Meghalaya, Assam and Mizoram for their logistic support during field explorations.


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Singh, S.K. and Kumar, R. 2011. Globba wardii (Zingiberaceae) – a very rare species, new record for India. Taiwania 56: 261 – 264.

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Thongam, B. Konsam, B. and Sarangthem, N. 2013. Globba sherwoodiana (Zingiberaceae): A new record for India from Manipur. Rheedea 23(1): 34 – 36.

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