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Alpinia zerumbet (Pers.) B.L. Burtt & R.M. Smith

Alpinia zerumbet (Pers.) B.L. Burtt & R.M. Smith




Zerumbet speciosum J.C. Wendl., Alpinia speciosa (J.C. Wendl.) K. Schum., Languas speciosa (J.C. Wendl.) Small, Catimbium speciosum (J.C. Wendl.) Holttum.

Vernacular Names


Shell ginger, shell flower, light galangal.


Galoba merah, goloba koi, langkuas la­ki-Iaki (Moluccas).


Langkuas na pula (Tagalog).


Khaa khom (Northern).


Ri[eef]ng[aas]m, g[uwf]ng [aas]m.


Atoumau (Martinique).

Geographical Distributions

Alpinia zerumbet is considered native to north-eastern India, Burma (Myanmar), Indo-China, China and Japan. Besides, it is cultivated throughout Southeast Asia and in many other tropical and subtropical countries.


Alpinia zerumbet is similar to Alpinia malaccensis.

The main differences are that the leafy stem is up to 2-3 m tall while the petiole is up to 2.5 cm long.

The inflores­cence is decurved or drooping, measures up to 20 cm long, and bearing 25 or more cincinni of 2 flowers each. The bracteoles are white and with pink apex. The labellum is entire or shallowly lobed while the fruit is orange.

Ecology / Cultivation

Alpinia zerumbet occurs naturally in open and shad­ed forests.

Line Drawing / Photograph



  1. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No.12(2): Medicinal and poisonous plants 2.

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