inflorescences with distichous bracts and large, two-day flowers. Their annual life
cycle begins as seed, rhizome-like bulbs (
B. kerrii, B. longiflora) pieces of running
rhizome (B. kingii) or mature rhizomes from the previous year. Growth begins in April
or later, coinciding with the monsoon rains and continues through October when the
weather becomes cooler and dry. All species are dormant for about five months. Plants
of B. maxwellii grown in a different climate (Hawaii) with rainfall throughout the
dormancy period still follow their monsoonal cycle even after 20 years of cultivation
(Mood, pers. obs.).
Running rhizomes are found on all current B. kingii collections, including
the putative hybrids. This character, at least in part, might account for its very wide
distribution, whereas the other five species which propagate primarily through seed
dispersal have a much smaller range.
Specimens or pictures identified as B. longiflora in publications prior to this
study should be re-determined. For instance, the plants studied by Gao et al. (2004)
(2006), the Boesenbergia pictured on page 32 is B. maxwellii, while the yellow-
flowered taxon on page 48 appears to be B. collinsii.
Long-term observation of cultivated gingers combined with field visits to
document ecology, geology, distribution, pollination biology and other elements has
shown to be an excellent strategy for the study of Boesenbergia. The daily observation
of multiple collections of various taxa from initial growth to dormancy provided
insight well beyond that of field observations alone.
The current study represents a small segment of an on-going research project
whose goal is to improve the overall knowledge of Boesenbergia by re-examining
nomenclature, improving descriptions, analysing genetic relationships and providing
phytochemical profiles. Additionally, further investigation of the B. longiflora clade
continues to include karyotyping, phenology, biogeography and conservation status.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS. We would like to thank W. John Kress, Mike Bordelon, Lopez,
Ingrid Pol-Yin Lin (US), Mark Newman (E) for assisting with specimens, plant photography
and collection data. Latin text was translated by Philip H. Oswald (Cambridge, U.K.). We
thank Henry Noltie and Helen Yeats (E), Malcolm Beasley (BM), Penny Brook (British
Library, UK), Gina Douglas (LINN), Louise B. Johansen (Denmark), Gitte Petersen (C),
Finn Borchsenius and Olof Ryding (AAU), Nicholas Hind, Marcelo Sellaro, Lynn Parker,
Tim Utteridge, Martin Xanthos, Katherine Challis (K) and Axel Poulsen (Oslo BG, Norway)
for helpful discussion and assistance in preparatory research. Special thanks to Jana Leong-
Škorničková (SING), Peter Boyce (USM, Malaysia), Pieter Pelser (UC, NZ) David Gang
(WSU, USA), Ida Theilade (UC, Denmark) and Bob Faden (US) for manuscript assistance.
Special acknowledgement to colleagues in Thailand: Poonsak Vatcharakorn, Pramote Triboun
(BK) Yingyong Paisooksantivatana (KU), Piya Charlermglin (TISTR) and the staff at BK
and BKF. In India, special thanks to Shri Jairam Ramesh, Minister of Rural Development;
Jatrinda Sarma, Assam Forestry Dept.; Paramjit Singh, Director of Botanical Survey of India,
Boesenbergia longiflora and related taxa
second author also thanks Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden for generously providing several
years of financial support and The Field Museum of Natural History for current and on-going
access to collections and facilities. Permissions for reprinting Figs. 1 and 2 were kindly granted
by the Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew; for Fig. 14, by the Director,
Botanical Survey of India, Kolkata, India. The original watercolours of B. collinsii, B. kerrii
and B. maxwellii were accomplished in a historical style by Linda Ann Vorobik (UCB, USA).
Colour plates were created by Tiffany D. Shafto (Hawaii, USA).
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