Journal of Threatened Taxa | | 26 November 2018 | 10(13): 12850–12853



A new record of the Malay Cardamom Amomum aculeatum Roxb. (Zingiberaceae) for mainland India


Sameer Patil 1 & P. Lakshminarasimhan 2


1,2 Botanical Survey of India, Western Regional Centre, 7 Koregaon Road, Pune, Maharashtra 411001, India

1 (corresponding author), 2






Editor: N.P. Balakrishnan, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India      Date of publication: 26 November 2018 (online & print)


Manuscript details: Ms # 4227 | Received 02 May 2018 | Final received 11 October 2018 | Finally accepted 30 October 2018


Citation: Patil, S. & P. Lakshminarasimhan (2018). A new record of the Malay Cardamom Amomum aculeatum Roxb. (Zingiberaceae) for mainland India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 10(13): 12850–12853;


Copyright: © Patil & Lakshminarasimhan 2018. Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. JoTT allows unrestricted use of this article in any medium, reproduction and distribution by providing adequate credit to the authors and the source of publication.


Funding: In house project Botanical Survey of India, Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change.


Competing interests: The authors declare no competing interests.


Acknowledgements: The authors are thankful to The Director, BSI, Kolkata for encouragement and facilities. We are also grateful to Dr. Lal Ji Singh, BSI, Port Blair.  The authors are also thankful to the forest officials of Kodagu, Karnataka state forest for timely co-operation in field tours.




Zingiberaceae, with 53 genera and 1,377 species (Kong et al. 2010) is widely distributed in tropical areas.  Amomum Roxb., the second largest genus of the family with ca. 150 species has its distribution along tropical Asia to Australia (Mabberley 2008).  In India, the members of the genus are mainly restricted to northeastern India, peninsular India, and the Andaman & Nicobar Islands (Thomas & Sabu 2012).  Hooker (1894) listed 48 species in the Flora of British India.  Thomas et al. (2010) reported ca. 22 species from India.  Sabu (2006) reported six species for southern India.  Recent exploration by V.P. Thomas (2009–2018), M. Sabu (1990–2018) and V.S. Hareesh VS (2013–2018) has added 11 species and one variety to Indian flora, which takes the total count to 33 species and one variety of Amomum in India.

During a recent floristic exploration along the Western Ghats of Karnataka, the first author collected specimens belonging to the genus Amomum Roxb.  After critical study and scrutiny of literature and herbarium materials, the collected specimen was identified as Amomum aculeatum.  The species was first described by Roxburgh in 1810 from the Malay Archipelago.  Later, Kurz collected the species in 1866 from the South Andaman Islands during his voyages to Southeast Asia.  In recent times N.G. Nair recollected the species in 1976 from the South Andaman Islands and N. Bhargava from the Little Andaman Islands (Balakrishnan & Nair 1979; Pandey & Diwakar 2008).  Hence, the present collection of the species from Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary, Kodagu, Karnataka (12.6330N & 75.6540E); stands as a new record of this species in the wild for mainland India (southern Western Ghats) (Fig. 1).  A brief description and photographs along with distribution are provided here.






Amomum aculeatum

(Image 1)

Roxb. in Asiat. Res. 11: 344, t.6.1810 & Fl. Ind., Carey & Wall. Ed. 1: 40. 1820; Baker in Hook. f., Fl. Brit. India 6: 243. 1892; Holtt. in Gard. Bull. Sing. 13: 212. 1950; Baker & Bakh. f., Fl. Java 3: 54. 1968; N.P. Balakr. & N.G. Nair in J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 76: 196. 1979; Vasudeva Rao in J. Econ. Taxon Bot. 8: 151. 1986; Karthik. & al. Fl. Ind. Enum. Monocot. 290. 1989. A. aculeatum var. gymnocarpum Valeton in Nova Guinea 8: 926. 1913. A. aculeatum var. macrocarpum Valeton in Nova Guinea 8: 927. 1913. A. aurantiacum Ridl. in J. Fed. Malay States Mus. 10: 153. 1920. A. ciliatum Blume in Enum. Pl. Javae 49. 1827. A. flavum Ridl. in J. Straits Branch Roy. Asiat. Soc. 32: 133. 1899.

Herbs, 2.5-3.5 m high; rhizome branched, yellowish-brown within; pseudo-stems 2.5–3.5 cm thick, reddish at base.  Leaves distichous, 40–60 x 7–12 cm, elliptic or lanceolate, cuneate at base, acuminate at apex, glabrous; petioles short; ligules ca. 1cm long, bifid.  Inflorescence many; peduncles 12–22 cm long; sterile bracts 4–5 x 2.5–3.5 cm, spirally arranged, ovate, cuspidate, red; spikes 7.5 x 4–7 cm, oblong; floral bracts 4.5–5.5 x 2–2.5 cm, ovate, slightly notched at apex, reddish-purple; bracteolate 1.2–1.4 cm long, tubular, pinkish-purple; pedicels 2–3 x 4–5 mm.  Calyx 2.5–3 cm long, tabular, 3-keeled, puberulous on keels towards apex, red; limb bilobed, ca. 5mm long, ovate.  Corolla 4.1–4.6 cm long, trilobed, white; lateral lobes 2.5–2.8 x 1–1.2 cm, elliptic-oblong, obtuse to subacute; median lobe 2.5–3 x 2.5–3 cm, obovate, obtuse, boat shaped.  Labellum 3.5–4 x 3.8–4.2 cm, wedge-shaped, undulate-crispate at margin, white with thick yellow red-striated median band, trilobed at apex; lateral lobes ca. 1.5 x 2 cm, rounded, hyaline; median lobe 6–8 x 8–10 mm, triangular, obtuse, subacute, sometimes bilobed, hyaline, white with two thick yellow spots at middle.  Staminodes 2, 4–5 mm long, linear-subulate, attached at the base of lip.  Anthers 1–1.3 x 0.5–0.6 cm, puberulous; crest 0.5–0.6 x 1.5–1.7 cm, trilobed, white; lateral lobes orbicular; median lobe truncate, rounded or irregularly crenate at apex; filament 1.2–1.4 x 0.3–0.4 cm, linear, flat, glabrous.  Ovary 0.4–0.5 x 0.3–0.4 cm, puberulous, pink; ovules numerous; style 4.2–4.5 cm long, puberulous; stigma 0.1 x 0.2 cm, cup-shaped, dorso-ventrally compressed, puberulous. Stylodes 2–3 mm long, fleshy, cream colored, many lobed.

Flowering & Fruiting: April–June.

Habitat: Primary forests at an elevation up to 800m.

Distribution: India [Andaman Is. (Kurz, Nair, Bhargava) and Karnataka (present study)], Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and, New Guinea.

Specimens examined: (K, CAL), s.n., 23.ix.1867, India, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, South Andaman Island, coll. S. Kurz; 119, 06.iii.1903, Andamans, C.G. Rogers (CAL); 3751, 15.v.1976, Ferrargunj, N.G. Nair (CAL) & 3752, 15.v.1976, Ferrargunj, N.G. Nair (CAL, PBL); 4133, 14.viii.1976, way to forest nursery, Little Andaman, N. Bhargava (PBL); 206709, 04.iv.2017, towards waterhole Marigundi, Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary, Kodagu, Karnataka, 12.6330N & 75.6540E, c. 270m, coll. Sameer Patil (BSI - Botanical Survey of India, Western Regional Centre, Pune).

Notes: The Andaman aborigines use plants of A. aculeatum for tranquilizing the giant rock bees Apis dorsata and harvest honey from their hives without protective apparels, while the bees remain docile.








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