NOVON 7(4): 440-442. 1997.

Notes on the Lowiaceae, Musaceae, and Zingiberaceae for the Flora of China

WU Te-lin

South China Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou, Guangdong 510650, People’s Republic of China

ABSTRACT. A new combination in the Lowiaceae, Orchidantha chinensis T. L. Wu var. longisepala (D. Fang) T. L. Wu, as well as a new species, Alpinia jianganfeng T. L. Wu, and two new combinations, Amomum petaloideum (S. J. Tong) T. L. Wu and Roscoea cautleoides Gagnepain var. pubescens (Z. Y. Zhu) T. L. Wu, in the Zingiberaceae are proposed. Eight species in the Lowiaceae, Musaceae, and Zingiberaceae are reduced to synonymy.

The following novelties are proposed to make the names available for the treatments of Lowiaceae, Musaceae, and Zingiberaceae in the forthcoming volume 24 of the Flora of China.


Orchidantha chinensis T. L. Wu var. longisepala (D. Fang) T. L. Wu, comb. et stat. nov. Basionym: Orchidantha longisepala D. Fang, Guihaia 16: 4. 1996. TYPE: China. Guangxi: Shangsi, Baibao, Nadang, Shiwandashan, 370 m, 9 Mar. 1975, D. Fang & X. X. Chen 35125 (holotype, GXMT; isotypes, IBK, IBSC, PE).

Orchidantha longisepala differs from O. chinensis only in the flower size. The former has sepals 12--17 X 1.9--3.2 cm, a labellum 12--17 X 2--2.3 cm, and two lateral petals 2.8--3.2 cm long. In contrast, O. chinensis has sepals ca. 9.5 X 1.5--2 cm, a labellum ca. 9 X 0.8 cm, and two lateral petals ca. 2 cm long. These quantitative differences can only justify the recognition of O. longisepala at the varietal rank.


Musa balbisiana Colla, Men. Gen. Musa 56. 1820.

Musa dechangensis J. L. Liu & M. G. Liu, Act. Bot. Yunnan. 9: 163. 1987. Syn. nov. TYPE: China. Sichuan: Dechang, Xiaogao, 1380 m, 2 Dec. 1984, J. L. Liu & J. Q. Xiao 179 (holotype, XIAS).

Musa lushanensis J. L. Liu, Acta Bot. Yunnan. 11: 171. 1989. Syn. nov. TYPE: China. Sichuan: Lushan Xian, Shuangshixiang, 700 m, 3 Oct. 1987, J. L. Liu & Z. H. Tang 181 (holotype, XIAS).

Musa luteola J. L. Liu, Invest. & Stud. Nat. 10: 41. 1990. Syn. nov. TYPE: China. Sichuan: Yaan, Lushan Xian, Shuangshixiang, 700 m, 3 Oct. 1987, J. L. Liu & Z. H. Tang 180 (holotype, XIAS).

Musa dechangensis, M. lushanensis, and M. luteola are indistinguishable from M. balbisiana in almost all aspects of bracts, fruit, and seeds. The slight differences given by the authors of these three species (e.g., having yellowish bracts or lacking the fruit beak) can be observed within M. balbisiana and, therefore, do not support the recognition of these three variants as independent species.

Ensete wilsonii (Tutcher) Cheesman, Kew Bull. 2: 103. 1948.

This species was treated by Li (1981) as Musa wilsonii Tutcher. However, a study of the figure and the description in the original publication of M. wilsonii clearly reveals that the species should be placed in Ensete and not Musa. Ensete, including E. wilsonii, differs from Musa in having a sympodial swollen stem base (vs. stoloniferous stem base), a 3-lobed compound tepal (vs. 5-toothed compound tepal), green (vs. colored) bracts, and seeds 1--1.3 (vs. less than 0.6) cm in diameter.


Alpinia hainanensis K. Schumann, in Engler, Pflanzenr. IV. 46(Heft 20): 335. 1904.

Alpinia henryi K. Schumann, in Engler, Pflanzenr. IV. 46(Heft 20): 335. 1904. Syn. nov. TYPE: China. Hainan: without locality, Henry 8402 (holotype, B; isotype, K).

Alpinia katsumadai Hayata, Icon. Pl. Formosan. 5: 224. 1915. Syn. nov. TYPE: China. Hainan: without locality, 1910, Katsumada s.n. (holotype, TI).

Alpinia kainantensis Masamune, Trans. Nat. Hist. Soc. Taiwan 33: 28. 1943. Syn. nov. TYPE: China. Hainan (as Kainanto): Man-nei, 27 Nov. 1940, Masamune & Fukuyama 174 (holotype, TI).

The types of all of the above four species were collected from Hainan Island. A comparison of the original descriptions, as well as photographs of the type collections of both Alpinia hainanensis and A. henryi, cast no doubt that all four represent a single species.

Alpinia stachyodes Hance, J. Linn. Soc., Bot. 13: 126. 1873.

Alpinia densibracteata T. L. Wu & Senjen, Acta Phytotax. Sin. 16(3): 32. 1978. Syn. nov. TYPE: China. Guangdong: Long Men, W. T. Tseng 25332 (holotype, IBSC).

An examination of the types of Alpinia stachyodes and A. densibracteata reveals that a single species is involved.

Alpinia (subg. Probolocalyx K. Schumann) jianganfeng T. L. Wu, sp. nov. TYPE: China. Guangdong: Lian Nan Xian, Z. S. Zhu 784 (holotype, IBSC).

Caulis ca. 1 m altus; folia lanceolata vel lineari-lanceolata, 20--30 cm longa, 2--4(--6) cm lata; ligula bifida, ca. 2 mm longa, ciliata; spica terminalis, 10--20 cm longa; rhachidi tomentosa; bracteola minuta; calyx cylindricus, apice tridentatus pubescens; corollae tubus 8--10 mm longus, lobis oblongis, 8--10 mm longis, villosis; staminodia lateralia lineares, ca. 2 mm longa; labellum obovatum, 0.7--1.3 mm longum, margine crispatum, apice bifidum; stamen labello longior; capsula globosa 7--8 mm diam., pubescens, apice calyce persistenti coronata; semina 5--6.

Plants herbaceous. Stems ca. 1 m long. Leaves sessile or with petioles to 4 cm; sheath glabrous; ligule ca. 2 mm long, 2-cleft, ciliate; leaf blade lanceolate to linear-lanceolate 20--30 cm long, 2--4(--6) cm wide, glabrous except for hispid subapical margin, base attenuate, apex narrowly caudate. Spikes terminal, erect, 10--20 cm long; rachis tomentose; bracts absent; bracteoles minute. Flowers in clusters of 3. Calyx cylindric, apex 3-cleft, pubescent outside. Corolla tube subequal or slightly longer than calyx; lobes oblong, 8--10 mm long, villous outside. Lateral staminodes linear, ca. 2 mm long. Labellum obovate, 0.7--1.3 cm long, margin crisped, apex 2-cleft. Stamen longer than labellum; anther ca. 4 mm. Ovary globose, pubescent. Capsule globose, 7--8 mm diam., pubescent, apex crowned with persistent calyx. Seeds 5 or 6.

Flowering April--June, fruiting June--November.

Alpinia jianganfeng is closely related to A. bambusifolia C. F. Liang & D. Fang, from which it differs in having glabrous sheaths, spikes 10--20 cm long, flowers in fascicles of 3, and a labellum 7--13 mm long with a crisp margin. In contrast, A. bambusifolia has pubescent sheaths, spikes 1.5--6 cm long, flowers in pairs or solitary along upper parts of the spike, and an entire labellum ca. 9 mm long.

Alpinia jianganfeng was misidentified by Wu and Chen (1981) as A. stachyodes Hance. However, the latter species has tomentose sheaths, ligules ca. 1 cm long, ovate or lanceolate bracts 1.5--2.5 cm long, lanceolate bracteoles 5--10 mm long, and a rhomboid-ovoid obscurely 3-lobed labellum. Plants of A. jianganfeng have glabrous sheaths, ligules ca. 2 mm long, no bracts, minute bracteoles, and an obovate 2-cleft labellum.

Paratypes. CHINA (all specimens at IBSC). Guangdong: Lian Nan Xian, T. S. Chu 784; Nan Xiong Xian, L. Deng 6375 (IBS); Tai San Xian, B. H. Chen 881; Xin Feng Xian , H. G. Ye 1000; Ying De Xian, C. S. Niu 8031; Yu Nan Xian, G. C. Zhang 2760. Guangxi: Bai Shi Xian, Y. W. Taam 8; Cang Wu Xian, S. H. Chun 229138; He Xian, Y. K. Li; Rong Xian, S. H. Chun 229138. Hong Kong: W. Y. Chun 4876; Y. Tsiang 647. Hunan: Jiang Hua Xian, B. G. Li 05328; Yi Zhang Xian, S. H. Chun 2900. Jiangxi: Hui Chang Xian, C. M. Hu 3393; Le Yi Xian, M. X. Nie 8609; Xu Wu Xian, C. M. Hu 1658; Yong Xin Xian, S. K. Lai 4978.

Amomum petaloideum (S. Q. Tong) T. L. Wu, comb. nov. Basionym: Paramomum petaloideum S. Q. Tong, Acta Bot. Yunnan. 7: 310. 1985. TYPE: China. Yunnan: Mengla Xian, Meng-lun, 620 m, 10 June 1981, S. Q. Tong 24801 (holotype, YNTBI).

In his original description of the monotypic Paramomum, Tong (1985) compared it with Costus. However, P. petaloideum has all the features of Amomum.

Roscoea cautleoides Gagnepain var. pubescens (Z. Y. Zhu) T. L. Wu, stat. et comb. nov. Basionym: Roscoea pubescens Z. Y. Zhu, Acta Phytotax. Sin. 26: 315. 1988. TYPE: China. Sichuan: Xichang, 2000 m, J. L. Zhang 195 (holotype, EMA).

Except for having pubescent sheaths and abaxial leaf surfaces and slightly longer fruits, plants of Roscoea pubescens are indistinguishable from those of R. cautleoides.

Roscoea humeana I. B. Balfour & W. W. Smith, Notes Roy. Bot. Gard. Edinburgh 9: 122. 1916.

Roscoea sichuanensis Miau, Act. Sci. Nat. Univ. Sunyatseni 34(3): 81. 1995. Syn. nov. TYPE: China. Sichuan: Mt. Siga, overlooking Yalang River, N Koradi, 12,000 ft., May 1932, J. F. Rock 23852 (holotype, SYS; isotype, A).

An examination of the type material of Roscoea sichuanensis reveals that the plant is indistinguishable from R. humeana.

Acknowledgments. I am very grateful to John Kress (Smithsonian Institution), David E. Boufford (Harvard University), and Ihsan Al-Shehbaz (Missouri Botanical Garden) for supporting my visit to the United States. I also thank Dr. Al-Shehbaz for his help with the manuscript.

Literature Cited

Li, H. W. 1981. Musaceae (Muscoideae). In: T. L. Wu (editor), Fl. Reipubl. Popularis Sin. 16(2): 1--14.

Tong, S. Q. 1985. Paramomum, a new genus of Zingiberaceae from Yunnan. Acta Bot. Yunnan. 7: 309--312.

Wu, T. L. & S. J. Chen. 1981. Alpinia. In: T. L. Wu (editor), Fl. Reipubl. Popularis Sin. 16(2): 67--106.