Anamalai Ginger
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Anamalai Ginger
P Native Photo: Ashutosh Sharma
Common name: Anamalai Ginger
Botanical name: Zingiber anamalayanum    Family: Zingiberaceae (Ginger family)

Anamalai Ginger is a perennial rhizome-forming herb with leafy shoots 50-150 cm tall, fleshy, thickly silky; basal portion enclosed by 4-9 bladeless sheaths. Leaves are stalkless, blade 13-25 x 4-8 cm, lanceshaped, elliptic or elliptic-oblong, tip tapering, base unequally rounded, margin entire, floccose or silky below, dark green and glossy above. Inflorescences arise directly from the rhizome, close to the leafy shoot, 15-60 cm long; flower-cluster-stalk leafy or not, 10-40 cm long, clothed with 4-7 sheaths. Leaves on the flower-cluster-stalk 8-13 x 3-5 cm, resembling normal leaves. Flower-spike is cylindrical, tapering to a narrow tip, 10-17 cm long. Flowers are 5.5-6.2 cm long; sepal-cup tubular, 2.2-2.5 cm long, tip bi-lobed, split halfway on one side, minutely hairy, white with brown streaks. Flower tube is 3.0-3.3 cm long, white, softly hairy below, 3-lobed, lobes unequal, longitudinally veined, white. Dorsal lobe is ovate-elliptic, 2.6-3.0 x 1.3-1.6 cm, boat-shaped, tip hooded, lateral lobes narrowly ovate or lanceshaped, 1.7-2.2 x 0.5-0.8 cm, tip pointed, white, hairless. Lip is 3-lobed, longer than the lateral flower lobes, mid-lobe round-oblong, 2.4-2.7 x 2.6-3.0 cm, bifid at tip, margin strongly wrinkled, white with purple stripes and spots, hairless. Lateral lobes are irregularly ovate, 0.8-1.2 x 0.6-0.8 cm, free almost to the base, tip irregularly rounded, margin wrinkled, creamy, sometimes with few purple dots. Anamalai Ginger is found in Western Ghats.

Identification credit: Ashutosh Sharma Photographed in cultivation at FRLHT (TDU) Garden, Bengaluru.

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