Research Article
Research Article
A new species of Zingiber (Zingiberaceae) from Natma Taung National Park, Chin State, Myanmar
expand article infoRen Li§|, Law Shine, Wu Li#, Shi-Shun Zhou§
‡ Center for Integrative Conservation, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Menglun, China
§ Southeast Asia Biodiversity Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar
| University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
¶ Natural and Wildlife Conservation Division, Kanpetlet, Myanmar
# Pu’er University, Pu’er, China
Open Access


Zingiber natmataungense S.S.Zhou & R.Li (Zingiberaceae), a new species from Natma Taung National Park, Chin State, Myanmar, is described and illustrated. The new species is morphologically similar to Z. yunnanense, but differs by: leaf blade abaxially light green, glabrous, ligule sparsely pubescent, ca. 2–3 mm, bracts glabrous; calyx white 20–21 × 3.2–3.5 mm, glabrous, apex obviously 3-toothed; corolla tube white, ca. 3.9–4.1 cm, labellum lateral lobes, ca. 1.5–1.7 × 0.6–0.7 cm; stamen with sparse pubescent, filament white, glabrous, 1–2 mm; anther connective appendage yellowish proximally, purplish distally; ovary white, sparsely white pubescent, epigynous glands, ca. 6–7 mm long, tapered, apex whorled, yellow. This new species is also similar to Z. teres, but has a different flower colour.


Zingiber new species, Myanmar, Taxonomy, Zingiberaceae


Zingiberaceae is a pantropical and subtropical family, but with most species distributed in South and Southeast Asia. Zingiberaceae consist of about 50 genera and 1300 species. There are about 100 to 150 species in Zingiber, out of which 42 occur in China (Wu and Larsen 2000). Plants of the genus Zingiber are widely used throughout the world as foods and as herbal remedies in various traditional healing systems because of their wide range of bioactivities (Sharifi-Rad et al. 2017). In the last decade, one new genus and several new species of Zingiberaceae have been described from Myanmar (Kress et al. 2010; Gowda et al. 2012; Ding et al. 2018; Tanaka and Aung 2019). Two new species of Zingiber were reported recently from the west and northwest of Myanmar (Aung et al. 2017; Tanaka and Aung 2017). Plant diversity in Myanmar has certainly been underestimated so far and there is an urgent need for both botanical exploration and plant conservation (Jin et al. 2018).

Since 2014, cooperation between the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation in Myanmar and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) has resulted in more than ten joint biodiversity investigations in northern and western Myanmar by researchers from the Forest Department of Myanmar and CAS institutions. During our investigations from October 2016 to July 2019, in Natma Taung National Park, Chin State, western Myanmar, a new species of Zingiber was discovered and is described as follows.

Materials and methods

According to the published method (Stearn 1983), the morphological description of the new species was prepared from living plants and five dried herbarium specimens (HITBC: herbarium of Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, the Chinese Academy of Science). Measurements were made using a vernier caliper. Herbarium and fresh specimens of Zingiber yunnanense (KUN: herbaria of Kunming Institute of Botany, the Chinese Academy of Science, Specimen number No.0833231 or No.0833232) and Zingiber teres (KUN, Specimen number No. 0833210) were also examined.


Zingiber natmataungense S.S.Zhou & R.Li, sp. nov.

Fig. 1


Zingiber natmataungense is similar to Zingiber yunnanense S. Q. Tong & X. Z. Liu (Tong and Liu 1991; Wu and Chen 1997), but differs from it by leaf blade abaxially light green, ligule sparse pubescent, bracts glabrous; calyx white and glabrous, apex obviously 3-toothed; lateral lobes, ca. 1.5–1.7 × 0.6–0.7 cm; stamen with sparse pubescence, filament white and glabrous, 1–2 mm; anther connective appendage yellowish proximally, purplish distally; ovary white with sparse white pubescence; epigynous glands tapering, yellow. This new species also shows some morphological affinities with Z. teres S. Q. Tong & Y. M. Xia (Tong and Xia 1987), but differs from it by corolla tube white, ca. 3.9–4.1 cm; central lobe white; lateral lobes white, 28–30 × 4–5 mm; labellum central lobe white, apex undulate and lobed, purplish-spotted at base, 28–29 × 16–18 mm. (Fig. 2).

Figure 1. 

Zingiber natmataungense S.S.Zhou & R.Li, sp. nov. A habitat B–D pseudostem and detail of ligules E inflorescence F flower G inflorescence and rhizome H bract I flower and style J calyx and detail of ovary with epigynous glands and anther K dissection (from left): corolla lobes and labellum, floral tube with anther in side view.

Figure 2. 

A Holotype of Zingiber natmataungense S.S.Zhou & R.Li, sp. nov (S.S. Zhou. 15828, HITBC Acc. No. 169318) B holotype of Z. yunnanense S.Q.Tong et X.Z.Liu (Tong, S.Q. & Liu, X.Z. 42412, KUN Acc. No. 0833231) C isotype of Z. teres S.Q.Tong et Y.M.Xia (Tong, S.Q. & Xia, Y.M. 42403, KUN Acc. No. 0833210).


Myanmar. Chin State. Natma Taung (Mt. Victoria) National Park, under evergreen broad-leaved forest in tropical montane forest, 1900–2000 m alt., 9 July 2019, Shi Shun-Zhou 15828 (holotype: HITBC!, Herb. Bar. Code No. 169318; isotype: RAF!).


Pseudostems 50–80 cm, base with purplish-red sheaths. Rhizome yellow, aromatic. Leaves subsessile, ligule 2-lobed, 2–3 mm, sparsely pubescent; leaf blade green, abaxially light green, lanceolate or narrowly, ca. 5–25 × 3–5 cm, glabrous, base cuneate, apex acuminate or caudate. Inflorescences radical, ellipsoid, ca. 5–6 × 2–3.5 cm, ellipsoid or narrow ellipsoid; peduncle embedded in ground, 3–16 cm; bracts glabrous, outer ones purple, elliptic, apex blunt, ca. 4–4.2 × 2–2.3 cm, inner ones purple, purplish at base, long ellipsoid or lanceolate, ca. 4.5–5.0 × 1.3–1.7 cm; bracteoles white, purplish-spotted at apex, white at base, tubular, 43–45 × 4.5–5 mm. Calyx white 20–21 × 3.2–3.5 mm, apex obviously 3-toothed, glabrous. Corolla tube white, glabrous, ca. 3.9–4.1 cm; central lobe white with apex caudate-acuminate, ca. 3.1–3.3 × 0.8–0.9 cm; lateral lobes with acuminate apex, 2.8–3.0 × 0.4–0.5 cm. Labellum white, glabrous, apex undulate and lobed, purplish plaque at base; central lobe obovate, ca. 2.8–2.9 × 1.6–1.8 cm; lateral ones oblanceolate, ca. 1.5–1.7 × 0.6–0.7 cm. Stamen with sparse pubescence, ca. 2.4–2.6 cm; filament white, glabrous,1–2 mm; anther yellowish, ca. 1–1.1 cm; connective appendage yellowish proximally, purplish distally, ca. 1.4–1.6 cm. Ovary white, sparsely white pubescent; style white, glabrous, stigma slightly thicker than style, white, ostiole front facing, ciliate. Epigynous glands 2, ca. 6–7 mm tapered, apex whorled, yellow. Fruit unknown.


The new species is named after Natma Taung National Park, Chin State, Myanmar, where it was discovered in a vast area of monsoon forest.


Flowering from July to August.

Distribution and habitat

Zingiber natmataungense is only known from the type locality. It is a terrestrial plant in monsoon forest dominated by Castanopsis tribuloides (Smith) A. de Candolle (Fagaceae) and Nyssa javanica (Blume) Wangerin (Nyssaceae) and narrowly distributed from 1900 m to 2000 m alt. It has been used as a traditional medicine by local Chin people, who cover wounds with freshly crushed rhizomes and also apply it as a substitution for common ginger to treat coughs by drinking water in which it has been boiled.

Critical note

The new species most resembles Zingiber yunnanense and Z. teres. Detailed morphological differences between the two species are given in Table 1.

Table 1.

Diagnostic morphological characters of Zingiber natmataungense, Z. yunnanense and Z. teres.

Characters Zingiber natmataungense Zingiber yunnanense Zingiber teres
Leaf blade abaxially light green, glabrous abaxially purplish-red on basal leaves, sparsely hairy glabrous except sparsely puberulent along mid-vein abaxially
Ligule sparsely pubescent, ca. 2–3 mm densely pubescent, 4–7 mm pubescent, 2–4 mm
Bracts glabrous slightly hairy glabrous except red pubescent at acute or acuminate apex
Calyx white 20–21 × 3.2–3.5 mm, glabrous, apex obscurely 3-toothed white with red base and apex, ca. 10 mm, sparsely hairy, apex truncate apex obscurely 3-toothed, 14–16 mm
Corolla tube white, ca. 3.9–4.1 cm white with red apex, ca. 3.7 cm yellow, ca. 4–5 cm
Central lobe White, 31–33 × 8–9 mm red with slightly yellowish-green base, ca. 33 × 13 mm yellow, 26–30 × 9–10 mm
Lateral lobes White, 28–30 × 4–5 mm red with slightly yellowish-green base, ca. 33 × 13 mm yellow, 20–22 × 5–7 mm
Labellum central lobe white, apex undulate and lobed, purplish- spotted at base, 28–29 × 16–18 mm white with purple lines, elliptic, ca. 28 × 17 mm purple with yellow stripes, apex acuminate, 18–20 × 11–13 mm
Labellum Lateral lobes ca. 1.5–1.7 × 0.6–0.7 cm ca. 0.7 × 0.45 cm small
Stamen sparsely pubescent, glabrous glabrous
Filament white, glabrous, 1–2 mm no filament no filament
Anther connective appendage yellowish proximally, purplish distally, 14–16 mm purplish, 2-cleft ca. 15 mm yellow proximally, purple distally, ca. 10 mm
Ovary sparsely white pubescent densely white pubescent densely white pubescent
Epigynous glands yellow, ca. 6–7 mm, tapered, apex whorled white, ca. 5 mm, linear white, ca. 4 mm, linear


The authors are grateful to the Forest Research Institute of Myanmar for their support and collaboration during this study in Myanmar. Local staff from Natma Taung National Park and nearby villagers are also thanked for their help during the field survey. The authors also want to express their special gratitude to Professor Richard Corlett for editing the language of this manuscript. This work was co-financed by the Southeast Asia Biodiversity Research Institute (SEABRI), Chinese Academy of Sciences (Grant No. Y4ZK111B01), by a project of Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) Special Fund (Biodiversity Monitoring and Network Construction along Lancang-Mekong River Basin project, No. Y8GK041B01) and the CAS 135 program (No. 2017XTBG-F03). The reviewers are thanked for their important and useful suggestions for the manuscript.


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