Ginger family or Zingiberaceae is very well known all over the world. Zingiberaceae
has about 50 genera and over 1600 species worldwide (Maarten et al., 2016). It is easily recognizable
as a flowering plant with distinct aromas and rhizome roots. This perennial
herb features simple blades of slightly thick, fleshy leaves on erect
pseudostem usually green in colour.
To locate members of Zingiberaceae family, one must
know that the plant thrives warm and sunny areas with damp soil conditions.
Thus, as a tropical plant, it can be found primarily in regions along the
equator with environments of adequate humidity and temperature.
The plant is widely used as spices in cooking,
herbal medicines, and cosmetics. The Indians and ancient Chinese have practice
the use of ginger root to treat various common ailments since olden times. In
fact, ginger has been traded throughout history longer than most other spices
due to its medicinal merits. Common uses of Zingiberaceae stated by Ibrahim et
al. (2017) in the medicinal field include relieving flatulence or stomach ache,
post-natal healthcare, treatment for muscle sprains and joint pains and
universal health drink. Basically, the plant is used extensively in modern
medicine and pharmacology as well as traditional medicine.
Although members of this family are commonly used in
various fields, it is quite difficult to recognize and differentiate between
species of Zingiberaceae as they all bear multiple resemblance with each other
especially without basic expertise and knowledge in taxonomy and ginger
morphological description. For example, turmeric, common ginger and galangal
are widely used in Malay delicacies but to the uninformed eyes, the rhizomes of
these species look basically similar and the plants all have large green leaves
without much distinction. Thus, this study was carried out to describe the
morphological variation of Zingiberaceae and evaluate the distribution of
Zingiberaceae family particularly in district of Kuantan, Pahang. This is
crucial for better understanding of Zingiberaceae distribution and goes hand in
hand to the efforts for recognizing key identification features of
is a well-known plant with roughly 50 genera and over 1600 species worldwide and
about less than a hundred species in Malaysia (Maarten et al., 2016). It is a family of flowering plants of aromatic
perennial herbs with creeping horizontal or tuberous rhizomes distributed
throughout tropical Africa, Asia, and the Americas. Plants in Zingiberaceae
family are herbaceous with distichous leaves that forms pseudostem. The plants
are usually terrestrial or epiphytic. Flowers are hermaphroditic, usually
strongly zygomorphic, in determinate cymose inflorescences, and subtended by
conspicuous, spirally arranged bracts. The perianth is composed of two whorls,
a fused tubular calyx, and a tubular corolla with one lobe larger than the
other. Flowers typically have two of their stamenoids (sterile stamens) fused
to form a petaloid lip, and have only one fertile stamen. The ovary is inferior
and topped by two nectaries, the stigma is funnel-shaped. The fruits are
capsular, fleshy or dry, dehiscent or indehiscent, sometimes berrylike. Seed
may be many or few, arilate, aril, often lobed or lacerate (Jatoi et al., 2007). Plants of the
Zingiberaceae family mainly reproduce asexually through underground rhizomes.
Kingdom : Plantae
Phylum : Tracheophyta
Class : Liliopsida
Order : Zingiberales
Family : Zingiberaceae
Genus : Zingiber
Species : officinale
consist of approximately 50 genus distributed worldwide but according to
Ibrahim et al. (2007) , only 18 genera have been recorded in Peninsular
Malaysia .Below are morphological structure of some common and abundant genera
of Zingiberaceae in Malaysia.
genus is easily distinguished by its terminal inflorescence on leafy shoot,
which is emerging above its uppermost leaf sheath, rarely appearing lateral and
if so then not densely congested and labellum large and showy (Julius et al., 2010). Rhizomes are creeping and
thick. Pseudostems many, well developed and rarely absent. Leaves are many, leaf
blade oblong or lanceolate. Inflorescence at terminal panicle, raceme, or
spike, dense or lax. Calyx usually tubular. Corolla central lobe. Ovary usually
3-loculed and placentation axile. Stigma usually well expanded. Capsule usually
globose, dry or fleshy, indehiscent or irregularly dehiscent. Seeds numerous. (Delin
et al., 2000).
is characterised by radical cone-like inflorescences without an involucre of
sterile bracts, sometimes stilted root (Julius et al., 2010). Rhizomes are widely creeping. Pseudostems elongate.
Leaf sheath long, leaf blade usually oblong-lanceolate, oblong, or linear.
Inflorescence arising from rhizomes, a densely flowered spike or spikelike
raceme or panicle. Calyx usually tubular. Corolla tube cylindric. Filament well
developed. Ovary 3-loculed; ovules many per locule, superposed. Style filiform;
stigma usually funnelform, small, ciliate. Seeds oblong or many angled. (Delin et al., 2000).
is characterised by an involucres of sterile bracts, a short or much elongated peduncle,
tubular and elongated bracteoles, and distinct petal lobes, base of filament
and labellum (Julius et al.,
2010). Rhizomes are creeping.
Pseudostems robust. Leaves petiolate, lanceolate, large. Inflorescence arising
from rhizomes. Calyx tubular. Corolla tube equaling or longer than calyx.
Lateral staminodes absent. Labellum tongue-shaped. Stamen shorter than
labellum. Ovary 3-loculed; ovules numerous per locule. Capsule fleshy,
indehiscent, smooth, longitudinally ridged, or with obtuse warts in rows. (Delin
et al., 2000).
is a monophyletic group which produces radical inflorescence
characterised by having pulvinus petiole and anther crest wrapped around the
exerted style (Julius et al., 2010). Rhizomes
branched, tuberous, aromatic. Pseudostems erect, leafy. Leaves distichous petiole
swollen, leaf blade oblong, lanceolate, or linear. Inflorescences conical,
arising from rhizomes on peduncle. Calyx tubular. Corolla tube slender.
Filament short. Ovary 3-loculed; placentation axile. Style slender, stigma not
expanded. Capsule dehiscent loculicidally or irregularly. Seeds black. (Delin et al., 2000).
are easily found in tropical and subtropical regions, primarily in tropical Asia
which posses moist and hot climate as well as large variety of habitats that probably
favored the development and differentiation of these plants. (Jatoi et a.l, 2007). They not only compromise
a prominent fraction of the undergrowth of tropical rain and monsoon forest but
are also sometimes found in secondary forest.
is among one of the countries with the greatest number of Zingiberaceae species
in South East Asia besides Thailand. Of 60% of tropical rainforest covering
Malaysia, over 320 species of 21 genera of Zingiberaceae have been discovered
as stated by Ibrahim et al. (2007) albeit there are disputes to the exact
number of genera of Zingiberaceae found in Malaysia due to the persistent
process of evolution of the plant.
Zingiberaceae species have long been exploited for a wide range of uses and
have been part of the Asian culture for centuries. In Malaysia, plants of
Zingiberaceae family are used as flavoring, spices, vegetables, medicine and
religious practices. Recently, cultivated gingers are utilized for
pharmaceutical and cosmeceutical field. (Ibrahim et al., 2007).
Almost a fifth of the Peninsular Malaysian gingers
are consumable and eaten fresh or cooked. Almost all parts of the plants can be
eaten which includes mainly rhizomes but also fruits, seeds, young shoots and
flower. (Ibrahim et al., 2007). Some
species of Zingiberaceae are also used in post-natal healthcare and post-partum
medicine as it is believed to be able to
help the process of internal healing in confinement period of new mothers
Kumar et al. (2013) stated that the plants are characterized by the
presence of valuable volatile oils. Almost all of Zingiberaceae species have
aromatic rhizome and fruit which can act as tonics and stimulants. The plants
also can be processed into astringent and diaphoretic juice as utilized in Ayurvedic
More recent studies into pharmacological potential
of Zingiberaceae revealed anti-cancer and anti-microbial properties obtained
from ginger extracts as revealed by
Wohlmuth (2008) which is a spectacular
finding in the ultimate search for the cure to cancer.
collection and checklist (Malaysia, Pahang and Kuantan)
are approximately 160 species of Zingiberaceae belonging to 18
in Peninsular Malaysia as mentioned by Ibrahim et al. (2007) as described in Table