A new wild ginger discovered from the evergreen forest of Western Ghats of South India

Jan 06, 2012
This is the fruit of A. nilgiricum. Credit: Professor M. Sabu

Intensive botanical explorations for taxonomic studies on the members of the ginger family (Zingiberaceae) in India by V.P. Thomas and M. Sabu of the University of Calicut, have resulted in the discovery of an interesting species of Amomum (Cardamom) from Silent Valley National Park on the Western Ghats of Kerala.

The family consists of 53 genera and over 1,200 , many of which are widely used as spices, for medical purposes, or simply for decoration. Amomum Roxb. is the second largest genus within the Zingiberaceae, comprising about 150-180 species, including several types of cardamom. Widely distributed in Southeast Asia, the genus is represented by 23 species in India, mostly restricted to North-East India, South India and the Andaman-Nicobar Islands.

These are the flowers of A. nilgiricum. Credit: Professor M. Sabu

In the new species, the authors show some similarities with A. masticatorium, although the two are clearly distinct. The new plant's name refers to its locality, i.e. Nilgiri hills, a part of Western Ghats and one of the hotspots of the Indian subcontinent. The most notable feature of the plant is the presence of long ligules that reach up to 9 cm long and small flowers with a long corolla tube. Almost all parts of the plant are hairy.

It is a species (found above 1,200 m), and attempts to conserve it outside its natural locality were unsuccessful. The conservation status evaluation revealed that it falls under the critically endangered category of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, 2001. are to be carried out very urgently to recover the plant from extinction.

Explore further: Sex? It all started 385 million years ago (w/ Video)

More information: Thomas VP, Sabu M, Prabhu Kumar KM (2012) Amomum nilgiricum (Zingiberaceae), a new species from Western Ghats, India. PhytoKeys 8: 99-104. doi: 10.3897/phytokeys.8.2152

Provided by Pensoft Publishers

3.5 /5 (2 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Petal power

Mar 01, 2011

A team of plant experts from the Faculty of Applied Sciences, Universiti Teknologi MARA, have conducted research on the potential use of the plant growth regulators, paclobutrazol and uniconazole, to enhance ...

Rethinking extinction risk?

May 24, 2011

For more than 40 years, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has published the Red List of Threatened Species describing the conservation status of various species of animals. They are ...

New genus of tree discovered

Oct 15, 2010

An article published in the October issue of the Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden describes a new genus of tree of the Aptandraceae family, a group that is related to the sandalwoods (order Sanatalales). The genus, wh ...

Recommended for you

'Red effect' sparks interest in female monkeys

Oct 17, 2014

Recent studies showed that the color red tends increase our attraction toward others, feelings of jealousy, and even reaction times. Now, new research shows that female monkeys also respond to the color red, ...

Roads negatively affect frogs and toads, study finds

Oct 17, 2014

The development of roads has a significant negative and pervasive effect on frog and toad populations, according to a new study conducted by a team of researchers that included undergraduate students and ...

User comments : 0