Thursday, July 9, 2009

Wild Gingers

Wild ginger is one of my favorite plants. I like to eat some of the consumable such as Etlingera coccinea or in local names they are famous with names such as tuhau (Kadazan-Dusun), tepus (Iban), tipu (Bidayuh), tubu buen or tubu nanung (Kelabit).

The ginger family (Zingiberaceae) consists of more than 1200 species mostly growing in tropical forests. Southeast Asia especially rich, and Borneo alone harbours more than 200 species; the exact number has still not been established and more work is needed even at the generic level.

Gingers are herbaceous plants but some species can reach a height of 8 m. The flowers, which are often short-lived, superficially resemble orchids. They are highly specialized and usually bisexual. Because of their brilliantly coloured flowers, many gingers are commonly grown as ornamental plants. In recent years, there has been an increasing interest in cultivating gingers for landscaping in tropical gardens and glasshouses or for the cut flower industry. Sevaral species provide a source of food, condiment, spice or medicine. At the same time, knowledge of their basic taxonomy and their distribution and conservation status is incomplete. Several ginger species play an ecologically important role in the forest understorey, particularly after moderate logging, landslides or forest fires.

I have two photos of ginger flowers and I only can identify one to the genus level but I am not confident I get it right and the other one I don’t know what it is. Both are very pretty flowers.

This is under genus Globba. The name of the genus is based on an Indonesian plant name galoba – a spice from Ambon. However, if anyone knows about this species I hope please corrects me if I am wrong. I don’t want to give the wrong information.

For this one, I really don’t have any idea of what species is this. But what I can say is, this is the first time I saw it and this flower is really pretty with lots of flies and ants on it. What are these insects doing there, I don’t know either.
Reference: Poulsen A. D. 2006. A Pocket Guide: Gingers of Sarawak. Natural History Publications (Borneo), Kota Kinabalu.
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