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



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Fig. 19. Stamens & labellum. A. 

Boesenbergia longiflora (M11P48). B. B. kerrii (M2044). 

C. B. collinsii (M3035). D. B. maxwellii (M11P124). E. B. kingii (M11P77). F. B. hamiltonii 

(M3209). (Photos: J. Mood)

epithet. Initially, this was a confusing issue, since no yellow flowered Boesenbergia 

had been described from NE India. Later, this anomaly was understood after examining 

the newly pressed flowers of all of the specimens used in this study. No matter what the 

original living flower colour, all turned a light yellow after drying. It appears Hamilton 

based his species descriptor on the dried flower colour rather than on fresh flowers. 

This yellow coloration can still be seen on Hamilton 12 (E). 

86

Gard. Bull. Singapore 65(1) 2013



Fig. 20. Geographical distribution of the 

Boesenbergia longiflora clade showing type localities. 

B. collinsii (yellow), B. hamiltonii (light blue), B. kerrii (red), B. kingii (white), 

B. longiflora 

(dark blue) and B. maxwellii (green). Each specimen mapped is noted by an asterisk following 

the herbarium abbreviation under the “Additional specimens examined”. (Mapped in GOOGLE 

earth, US Dept of State Geographer, 2013 Cnes/Spot image, 2013 Mapabc.com and 2013 

Google).

Conclusions and further research

Our study fully supports Larsen’s (1997) conclusion that Curcumorpha should 

be reduced to Boesenbergia. This is based on the phylogenetic analyses showing the 

B. longiflora clade nested within the larger Boesenbergia clade (Fig. 3). In further 

support, three of the four characters Rao & Verma (1974) used to justify Curcumorpha 

have been found to occur in other Boesenbergia species. Their fourth character, spiral 

bract arrangement, was misinterpreted and bracts are in fact distichously inserted 

in taxa throughout the 

B.  longiflora clade. Some of their cited specimens are now 

determined as B. hamiltonii. 

87

Boesenbergia longiflora and related taxa



Table 

1.

 Comparison



 of six 

Boesenber

gia

 species from the 



B. 

longiflora

 clade. 


All measurements 

are derived from living material. 

Floral tube length 

= apex of ovary to base of corolla 

lobes; androecial 

tube length 

= base of corolla 

lobes to androecial 

tube apex (point of diver

gence 


of staminodes, 

filament and labellum). 

Character

B. longiflora

B. kerrii

B. collinsii

B. maxwellii

B. kingii

B. hamiltonii

Flowers per inflorescence

2-

3

3-



6

4

5-



7

3-

4



5-

9 (1


1)

Flower colour

medium

yellow


light yellow

light, dark or 

creamy yellow

pure white

pure white or 

creamy white, 

ageing light 

yellow


white

Labellum pattern colour

red throat broadening 

to apex


orange-red 

throat, dark red 

streaked pattern 

to apex


red throat

with dark red,  

and pink 

orange throat with

red, pink or violet 

combinations

red throat, with 

white or dark pink 

 

red throat with 



uniform pink

Labellum shape

very saccate, short

saccate


saccate

slightly 

saccate, elongate

slightly saccate, 

elongate

slightly 

saccate, elongate

Labellum (L

 × 

W)

2.2



-

2.5 × 2.0

-

2.2 cm


3.8

-

4 × 2.2 cm



4-

4.2 × 3 cm

4.5

-

5.0 × 2.7



-

3.0 cm


5-

6 × 2.5


-

2.7 cm


5-

5.5 × 4


-

4.5 cm


Floral tube length

10 cm


12

-

14 cm



14 cm

12

-



14 cm

10

-



15 cm

9-

12 cm



Androecial tube length

4-

5 mm



4-

5 mm


8 mm

10

-



16 mm

10

-



12 mm

8-

10 mm



Anther length

7 mm


9 mm

9 mm


10 mm

8-

9 mm



10

-

12 mm



Under

ground


architecture

rhizome small; few 

vertical tuberous roots

rhizome small; 

few vertical 

tuberous roots

rhizome  small; 

many thick 

vertical tuberous 

roots


rhizome small; long 

vertical tuberous roots

many running 

rhizomes, 

0.5

-

1.5 cm 



diameter 

rhizome


small; long, 

vertical tuberous 

roots 

88

Gard. Bull. Singapore 65(1) 2013






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