Boesenbergia longiflora (Zingiberaceae) and descriptions of five related new taxa

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Etymology.  Named in honour of Sir George King (1840

-1909) a Scottish medical 

doctor and botanist who worked in India starting in 1865 after graduation from 

medical school. For a short time he was Superintendent of the Garden at Saharanpur 

and Conservator of Forests in that area. From 1870

-1897, he was the Superintendent 

of Calcutta Botanic Gardens. During the same period he became the first Director, 

Botanical Survey of India (Burkill 1965). His contributions to botany and science 

are numerous and far-reaching. The specimen King 1020

 (CAL) is the first known 

collection of this new species.  


Additional specimens examined. BANGLADESH. 

Chittagong Division. Kaptai Lake, 5 Sep 

1999, Newman 980 (E; *); Chimbuk Hill, Bandarban Hill Tracts, 8 Sep 2000, Newman 990 (E; 

*). BURMA.

 Sagaing Division. Katha Dist., Pile R.F., 20 Aug 1915, Rogers 991 (CAL; *); 

Alaungdaw Kathapa National Park, 17 Jul 1997, Kress 97-5821 (US; *). 

Mandalay Division. 

Maymyo Hills, Jun 1888, Khan 50 (CAL; *); Mt. Popa Park,17 May 1996, Kress 96-5646 (US; 

*). Shan State. 45 miles east of Pyin-Oo-Lwin, 26 Jun 2003, Kress 03-7366 (US; *). CHINA. 

Yunnan Province. Xishuangbanna Prefecture (cultivated at Xishuangbanna B.G.) 1 Jul 2009, 

Mood 2002 (BISH; *); Culyun Village, 49 km SW of Simao, 12 Jul 2009, Kress 09-8664 (US; 

*). INDIA.

 Sikkim. Teesta Valley, 22 Jul 1874, King 1020 (CAL; *); Assam. Nambar Forest, 

8 May, 1895, Reporter 11375 (ASSAM; *). THAILAND. 

Phetchabun Province. Nam Nao 

vicinity, 14 May 2012, Mood & Vatcharakorn 3272 (BISH; *).     


 The type selected here with a creamy white flower, dark red throat and white 

apex is the most common form observed across the range and as depicted in King’s 

illustration (Fig. 14). Another form has also been observed with dark pink to light 

violet colouring on the apex similar to the colours of B. hamiltonii. Based on limited 

observations, this latter form seems to be less robust with shorter pseudostems and 

smaller diameter rhizomes. The multi-stemmed habit of B. kingii (in both forms) is 

the result of the rhizome morphology—running in habit with multiple growth nodes 

similar to a stolon (Fig. 15F). These runners grow outward from the initial plant in 

various directions, often producing a new pseudostem at a major node. The result 

can be a large, clonal population such as at the type locality, where it encompasses 

over 30 m


 with hundreds of interconnected stems (Fig. 15C). In ex situ experiments 

a planted piece of broken rhizome produced a new mass of running rhizomes with 

several pseudostems after one year of growth. In this vein, a specimen from Burma, 

C.G. Rogers 991 (CAL) is annotated, “Prevents the natural regeneration of Teak.” This 

statement can now be understood with more clarity—B. kingii has the potential for 

rapidly spreading once established in a suitable area.

Boesenbergia hamiltonii Mood, S.Dey & L.M.Prince,

 sp. nov. 

Boesenbergiae  longiflorae  (Wall.) Kuntze affinis,  floribus  maioribus  3.5

4.5 cm 

longis 2.3

2.8 cm latis, labello elongato minus saccato albissimo signis rubris roseis 

violaceisque differt

TYPUS:  Dey NU53, India,  Meghalaya, Riboha District, Nongpoh, tropical, semi-

evergreen forest, steep hillside along highway, c. 350 m asl, 25º57.5'N 91º51.183'E, 

July 2009 (holo CAL; iso ASSAM). (Fig. 2, 16, 18 & 19F)


Gard. Bull. Singapore 65(1) 2013

Gastrochilus jenkinsii Wall. ex Voigt, Hort. Suburb. Calcutt.: 572 (1845), nom. 

inval., sine descr. – Voucher: Jenkins s.n. (CAL) India, Assam, Gowahatti. Bangleum 


  Ham.,  nom.  nud.  ≡  Alpinia hamiltoniana Wall., Numer. List: # 6579. 

1832, nom. nud. – Voucher: Hamilton

 Ao 1808 ≡ Wallich 6579A, India, Gualpura, 30 

May 1808 (K-W).

Gastrochilus longiflorus auct. non Wall.: Hooker in Curtis’s Bot. Mag. 69: t. 4010 

(1843) (hand-coloured plate by W. Fitch; “Long-flowered Gastrochilus”); in Hook.f., 

Fl. Brit. India 6: 217 (1890) (= G. jenkinsii). – Voucher: Hooker in Curtis’s Bot. Mag. 

69: t. 4010 (1843).

Curcumorpha longiflora auct. non A.S.Rao & D.M.Verma: A.S.Rao & D.M.Verma, 

Bull. Bot. Surv. India 13: 339 (1974) (“1971”) pro specim.

Deciduous herb up to 1 m tall; rhizome to c. 2.3 cm diam., externally yellow-brown, 

internally yellow; many cylindrical, tuberous roots extending from the rhizome base

c. 12 × 0.5 cm, externally pink, internally white, sometimes with a swollen apex, c. 

1 cm diam., 2 cm long; fibrous roots c. 45-50 × 0.1 cm, yellow-white, with many 

secondary root hairs. Pseudostem up to c. 30 cm long, composed of leaf sheaths, base 

round to oval, c. 2.5 cm. diam., several leafless sheaths at the base, green, glabrous, 

leaf sheaths 12

-24 cm, longitudinally ridged, lower portion reddish, upper green, 


Leaves 3-6 per pseudostem; petiole 8-26 cm, deeply channelled, light 

green, glabrous; ligule, slightly bilobed, lobes an extension of the hyaline margin

2 mm long, green or white, glabrous; lamina elliptical, 34

-44 × 15-19 cm, plicate, 

ventrally dark green, glabrous, dorsally lighter green, glabrous with a few hairs on 

the midrib, base rounded to cordate, apex acute. 

Inflorescence radical, c. 3-10 per 

pseudostem, up to c. 19 cm long (including peduncle) produced from the rhizome 

below the pseudostem, peduncle 5

-9 × 0.8 cm, white, glabrous, basal sheaths 1-2, 3.5-

4.5 × 1

-1.5 cm, white, glabrous; spike horn-shaped, 8-11 × 2 cm. Bracts cymbiform, 


-6, to c. 9 cm, distichously arranged, green and white, sometimes red, each bract 

enclosing  one  flower,  apex  sometimes  curved;  bracteole cymbiform c. 5-6 × 0.4 

cm, white, translucent, glabrous, open to the base, apex 2-dentate. Flowers 4

-6 per 

inflorescence, up to c. 15 cm long. Calyx tubular, 2-2.4 × 0.5 cm, white, translucent, 

glabrous, apex tri-dentate. Floral tube c. 9

-12 cm long, 3-4 mm wide at the base

white tinged with pink, glabrous externally and internally, corolla lobes (dorsal and 

ventral) oblong, c. 4 × 1.2 cm, white, glabrous, margins involute; androecial tube cup-

shaped, c. 8

-10 mm long, c. 12 mm diam. at the top, white, glabrous externally and 

internally. Labellum slightly saccate, elongate, 5

-5.5 cm long, 3.5-4 cm wide (when 

flattened at the widest point) lip margins slightly crisped, crinkled, apex emarginate, 

white, throat centre red, maculate with white showing thru as dots, colour broadening 

toward the margins, ending c. 12 mm from apex, lip entirely pink to the apex, abaxial 

surface with few glandular hairs; lateral staminodes obovate, 1.8 × 1.5 cm, white, 

abaxial surface with few glandular hairs, apex rounded to slightly acute, margins 

revolute in part. Stamen 12


14 mm long, filament 3 mm long, 3 mm wide at the base, 

white, glabrous, anther 10


12 mm long, 3 mm wide (first day) then c. 8 mm wide 


Boesenbergia longiflora and related taxa

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