Volume 8/1 2007
Posted: January 3, 2007
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Alpinia malaccensis (Burm.) Roscoe var. nobilis (Ridl.) I.M. Turner

Alpinia malaccensis var. nobilis is a large ginger between 2 and 4 meters tall. Its long, leafy stems arise from stout rhizomes just below the soil surface, growing close together in large clumps. It has large glossy green leaves arranged in 2 rows on the upper half of the stem.

The inflorescences are the showiest parts of the plant. They are held erect at the tip of the stem, bearing among the largest of the Alpinia flowers in Peninsular Malaysia. Each newly-emerged inflorescence is enclosed entirely by 2 large sheaths, looking very much like the young inflorescence of a banana. The flowers are very attractive; especially the bright yellow lip mottled with red at the base, with red lines extending to the edge of the lip. Fully open flowers emit a slightly foul smell akin to rotten meat. The fruits are almost spherical with slight depressions at each end. They are covered with fine hairs and turn orange when ripe. If crushed, the fruits emit a smell like the leaves of Piper sarmentosum , a culinary spice and salad, known in Malaysia as ‘daun kadok' .

A. malaccensis has a wide distribution, ranging from northeast India to Indochina, southwards to Peninsular Malaysia and Java, but the plant found in the Malay Peninsula is a locally endemic variety – A. malaccensis var. nobilis . It normally grows in open areas near streams or rivers, and has been recorded in three States, i.e., Terengganu, Pahang and Selangor.

A. malaccensis var. nobilis looks very similar to the popular garden plant, A . zerumbet , but the latter differs in having a pendulous inflorescence. Because A. malaccensis var. nobilis thrives in open, sunny areas with minimal maintenance; it has excellent potential as an ornamental plant for the landscape industry.

by Sam Yen Yen  
  e-mail: samyen@frim.gov.my
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  :: UPDATED PHOTOS - Available NOW at Flora of Peninsular Malaysia Online
Aeschynanthus obconica
Aeschynanthus parvifolius
Aeschynanthus perakensis
Aeschynanthus radicans
Aeschynanthus rhododendron
Aeschynanthus wallichii
CoeloCostus speciosus
Cyrtandra cupulata
Cyrtandra gimlettii
Didissandra frutescens
Henckelia albomarginata
Henckelia anthonyi
Henckelia codonian
Henckelia crinita
Henckelia crocea
Henckelia curtisii
Henckelia dawnii
Henckelia fasciata
Henckelia floribunda
Henckelia leiophylla
Henckelia malayana
Henckelia marginata
Henckelia nivea
Henckelia platypus
Henckelia primulina
Henckelia puncticulata
Henckelia pyroliflora
Henckelia reptans
Henckelia rugosa
Henckelia tahanica
Orchadocarpa lilacina
Ridleyandra glabrescens
Ridleyandra morganii
Areca ridleyana
Cyrtandra qiwleffei
Areca tunku
Arenga hastata
Nypa fruticans
Pinanga riparia
Lasianthus cyanocarpus
Scoparia dulcis
Chloranthus erectus
Costus globasus
Eriocaulon truncantum
Scaphochlamys biloba
Scaphochlamys grandis
Globba leucantha
Globba unifolia
Plagiostachys mucida
Musa gracilis
Henckelia atrosanguinea
Henckelia miniata
Pellacalyx saccardianus
Boesenbergia prainiana
Ixora javanica
Dendrophthoe incarnata
Sciaphila maculata
Pandanus yvanii
Rothmannia schoemannii
Stichoneuron caudatum
Aeschynanthus obconica
Aeschynanthus parvifolius
Aeschynanthus perakensis
Aeschynanthus radicans
Aeschynanthus rhododendron
Aeschynanthus wallichii
CoeloCostus speciosus
Cyrtandra cupulata
Cyrtandra gimlettii
Didissandra frutescens
Henckelia albomarginata
Henckelia anthonyi
Henckelia codonian
Henckelia crinita
Henckelia crocea
Henckelia curtisii
Henckelia dawnii
Henckelia fasciata
Henckelia floribunda
Henckelia leiophylla
Nephelaphyllum pulchrum
Amischotolype monosperma
Mussaenda Mutabilis
Homalomena griffithii
Costus speciosus
Bauhinia sp.
Morinda umbellata
Angiopteris evecta
Asplenium nidus
Dicranopteris linearis
Drynaria quercifolia
Borassodendron machadonis
Iguanura geonomiformis
Iguanura wallichiana
Licuala fractiflexa
Licuala kunstleri
Livistona speciosa
Dillenia indica
Dillenia suffruiticosa
Garcinia sp.
Gnetum gnenom
Heritiera sp.
Horsfieldia polysperula
Ixora grandiflora
Leea indica
Litsea umbellata
Melastoma malabathricum
Microcos tomentosa
Nephelium sp.
Pithecellobium bubalinum
Rhodamnia cinerea
Urophyllum sp.
Xerospermum noronhianum
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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