Sunday 18 November 2018

Hedychium viridibracteatum: A new species of Ginger Lily from the Guangxi Autonomous Region of South China.

Ginger Lilies, Hedychium, are a group of 50-80 species of flowering herbaceous plants in the Ginger Family, Zingiberaceae, found predominantly in tropical Asia. They are widely cultivated as both a garden plant and for use as cut flowers, due to their attractive and fragrant flowers. There are currently twelve recognised species found in the Guangxi Autonomous Region of South China, though one of these is divided into two varieties that have recently been shown to have different chromosome numbers, and which should therefore be recognised as separate species.

In a paper published in the journal PhytoKeys on 2 November 2018, Xiu Hu, Jia-qi Huang, Jia-chuan Tan, and Yong-qing Wu, of the Zhongkai University of Agriculture and Engineering, and Juan Chen of the South China Botanical Garden of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, describe a new species of Ginger Lily from the Guangxi Autonomous Region.

The new species is named Hedychium viridibracteatum, in reference to its green bracts and pure white flowers. The species is epilithic (grows on rocks), and is an evergreen perennial rhizomatous herb, producing seven to ten leaves, and a flower spike 10-15 cm high with clusters of pure white flowers in September and October. The plants were found growing on limestone rocks beneath the forest canopy at altitudes of 600-800 m in Napo, Longzhou and Jingxi Counties.

Hedychium viridibracteatum. Habit, growing on rocks. Hu et al. (2018).

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