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Geostachys densiflora Ridl.

by Lau Kah Hoo

Like most members of the ginger family (Zingiberaceae), Geostachys densiflora Ridl. has a thickened modified stem at the base of the plant called a rhizome. This plant is supported firmly above the ground with stilt roots. With leafy shoots up to 1.7 m in length and glabrous (hair-free) leaves to 56 x 5 cm, G. densiflora is considered a medium-sized ginger species. Both upper and lower surfaces of the leaves are green. At certain localities, G. densiflora with reddish to maroon coloured lower leaf surfaces can be found. This colour-difference phenomenon is not fully understood, however, environmental factors under which certain populations grow are believed to play an influential role. The structure of the inflorescence is decurved or angled downwards in a curved fashion, while the labellum or the flower lip of G. densiflora is yellow, with fine transparent lines. The edges of the labellum are crenulate (finely scalloped), and the corolla lobes are reddish. As can be seen in the accompanying pictures, the fruits of G. densiflora are ovoid and dark purple. This is one of the two most widely distributed species of the genus Geostachys found in Perak and Pahang.

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