Plants of Globba ruiliensis. Credit: MA Xingda

The genus Globba (the dancing girl ginger) is one of the largest genera of the family Zingiberaceae and comprises about 110 species distributed in Sri Lanka, India, Southeast Asia and Australia.

During systematic botanical researches in the Yunnan Tongbiguan Provincial Natural Reserve in Dehong, southwest China, researchers from the Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (XTBG) found an unknown species of Globba.

After literature review as well as morphological examination, the researchers confirmed that it represented a new species. They named it as Globba ruiliensis for the type locality, Ruili City, Dehong Prefecture and got it published in Taiwania.

Globba ruiliensis is a perennial herb, 80-140 cm tall. It is morphologically similar to G. multiflora, but clearly differs in its oblong or ovate-lanceolate leaves, adaxially strigose along veins, etc. Its leaf surface is abaxially densely hairy and the bublets are conical, green of yellowish-green. Its ovary is verrucose.

Flowering and fruiting Globba ruiliensis. Credit: MA Xingda

Globba ruiliensis is currently known from the Yunnan Tongbiguan Provincial Nature Reserve, Dehong Prefecture, Yunnan Province, China, growing in wet valleys at 800–1,000-meter elevation. The flowers and fruits were observed in October.

During the botanical surveys, only tree populations of Globba ruiliensis were found. They were sporadically distributed in wet valleys and with about 200 individuals were observed. The local villagers often graze their animals and cut firewood in the forest, inevitably damaging to the habitat of this new . Therefore, the researchers assessed the conservation status of Globba ruiliensis as "Endangered," according to the Red List Categories and Criteria version 14 of the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Flowers of Globba ruiliensis. Credit: MA Xingda

More information: Xing-Da Ma, et al. Globba ruiliensis, a new species of Zingiberaceae from Yunnan, China. Taiwania. DOI: 10.6165/tai.2021.66.31 04 January 2021