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



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Fig. 6. Single best Maximum Likelihood phylogram (-ln=5747.386) for 

B. longiflora and closely 

related taxa based on analysis of combined chloroplast trnK intron and nuclear ribosomal ITS 

data. Support values (Bootstrap/Posterior Probability) for critical branches are show above 

branches. Numbers in bold typeface indicate strong support.

60

Gard. Bull. Singapore 65(1) 2013



Taxonomy 

A  field  key  to  the  Boesenbergia  longiflora clade of species as elucidated above is 

provided here (see also Table 1.)

Key to six species in the 



Boesenbergia longiflora alliance

1a.  Flowers light yellow to bright, darker yellow …………………………………… 2

  b.  Flowers pure white to creamy white …………………………………………… 4

2a.  Plants c. 50

-80 cm., leaves broad, some horizontal, thecae red (Thailand) 

………………………………………………………………………  B. collinsii

  b.  Plants 1

-1.2 m tall, leaves narrower, more vertical …………………………… 3

3a.  Flowers small, c. 2.5

-3.0 cm, very saccate, staminodes light yellow, throat 

red maculate, labellum medium yellow, apex entire, thecae white (Burma) 

…………………………………………………………………… 



B.  longiflora

  b.  Flowers larger, c. 3.5

-4.0 cm, saccate, staminodes very light yellow to white, 

throat red-orange, maculate, labellum streaked with red, apex truncate, thecae 

light yellow (W Thailand) ………………………………………… B. kerrii

4a.  Rhizomes many, running, cylindrical, c. 5

-

15  mm  diameter,  flowers  white  to 



creamy white, throat red, sometimes with pink apex (NE India, Burma, SW 

China, Thailand) ……………………………………………………… B. kingii 

  b.  Rhizomes few, small, with vertical tuberous roots c. 16 cm long ……………… 5

5a.  Labellum apex light pink, throat red (NE India) …………………… B. hamiltonii

  b.  Labellum light and dark pink, throat orange, very frilled, crisped, large flower 

(Burma, N Thailand, Lao P.D.R.) ……………………………… B. maxwellii



Enumeration of species

Boesenbergia longiflora (Wall.) Kuntze, Revis. Gen. Pl. 2: 685 (1891). – Gastrochilus 

longiflorus Wall., Pl. Asiat. Rar. 1: 22, t. 25 (1829) (“longiflora”). – Curcumorpha 

longiflora (Wall.) A.S.Rao & D.M.Verma, Bull. Bot. Surv. India 13: 339 (1974), pro 

comb. LECTOTYPE (designated here): Wallich 6589A

  (K,  IDC  microfiche  7394, 

digital image seen) Burma, Rangoon. (Fig. 1, 7, 17 & 19A).



Deciduous herb  up to 1 m tall; rhizome small, irregularly shaped, c. 1 cm diam., 

externally brown, internally light yellow to white; multiple, small bulb-like rhizomes 

61

Boesenbergia longiflora and related taxa



Fig. 7. 

Boesenbergia longiflora (Wall.) Kuntze. A. First-day flower. B. Second-day flower. C. 

Plants. D. New rhizomes and tuberous roots. A

-D, M11P48. (Photos: J. Mood)

62

Gard. Bull. Singapore 65(1) 2013




surrounding the main rhizome, c. 1 cm long, pink or white; tuberous roots two or 

more, c. 8 

× 0.5 cm, tapering to a tuber, c. 2 × 1 cm, externally white or pink, internally 

white, root hairs few, c. 20 mm long, thin, white. Pseudostem up to c. 30 cm long, 

composed of leaf sheaths, base c. 2

-2.5 cm diam., 1-

2 short leafless sheaths at the 

base, leaf sheaths c. 10

-16 cm, longitudinally ridged, green, glabrous, margin hyaline. 

Leaves  5

-8 per pseudostem; petiole 9-18 cm, deeply channelled, green, glabrous; 

ligule slightly bilobed, lobes an extension of the hyaline margin, 2 mm long, slightly 

acute, protruding outward, green, glabrous; lamina elliptical or broadly ovate, c. 41

-

61 


× 20-21 cm, plicate, ventrally dark green, glabrous, dorsally lighter green, glabrous 

with a few hairs on the midrib, base rounded to cordate, sometimes asymmetric, apex 

acute to long acuminate. 

Inflorescence radical, c. 3-4 per pseudostem, up to c.12 cm 

long (including peduncle) produced from the side of the rhizome, peduncle c. 1

-3 cm 

long, white, glabrous, basal sheaths 1



-2, pink and white, glabrous; spike horn-shaped, 

5

-10 × 1-2 cm. Bracts cymbiform, 3-4, c. 5-6 × 1.5 cm, distichously arranged, red 



and green, glabrous, each bract enclosing one flower, some basal bracts sterile, apex 

sometimes curved; bracteole cylindrical, c. 5 

× 0.5 cm, white, translucent, glabrous, 

open to the base, apex acute. Flowers 2

-

3 per inflorescence, up to c. 11 cm long. Calyx 



tubular, 20 

× 5 mm, white, translucent, glabrous, apex bi-dentate. Floral tube 10 cm 

long, c. 3 mm wide at the base, white, glabrous externally and internally, corolla lobes 

(dorsal and ventral) linear to lanceolate, c. 2 

× 0.5 cm, yellowish-white, glabrous, 

margins involute; androecial tube cup-shaped, c. 4

-5 mm long, c. 7 mm diam. at the 

top, yellowish-white, glabrous externally and internally. Labellum saccate, semi-

orbicular, 2.2

-2.5 cm long, 2.0-

2.2 cm wide (when flattened at broadest point) light 

yellow, throat centre dark red, maculate with yellow showing through as dots, red 

pattern broadening to the lip apex, glabrous, margin wavy or wrinkled, revolute on 

the sides, apex elongate, emarginate; lateral staminodes obovate, 1.3 

× 1.0 cm, light 

yellow, glabrous, apex rounded. Stamen 

8 mm long, filament 1 mm long, 2 mm wide 

at base, light yellow, few short glandular hairs, anther 7 mm long, 2 mm wide (first 

day) then 5 mm wide (thecae diverging on the second day) apex rounded with no 

anther crest, thecae c. 7 

× 1 mm, white, dehiscing along the entire length. Ovary c. 7 

× 3 mm, trilocular, axile placentation, white, glabrous; style

 filiform, white, glabrous, 

stigma rounded, white, ostiole transverse, without cilia, exuding a sticky liquid on 

the second day; epigynous glands linear, two, 4 mm long, light yellow. Fruit  not 

seen. [Measurements based on living, cultivated material of M11P48, originating from 

Kress 03-7305 (US)]. 

Distribution. So far known only from two locations in Burma (Fig. 20). 

Ecology. Collected in the understorey of a primary teak forest [Kress 03-7305 (US)]. 

More observations are needed in Burma to fully document the ecology.



Phenology. 

Flowering  from  May  to  September with  a  two-day  flowering  cycle for 

each flower.  

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Boesenbergia longiflora and related taxa






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