Geostachys tahanensis Holttum
by Mr. Lau Kah Hoo
Geostachys tahanensis Holttum
by Mr. Lau Kah Hoo

Gunung Tahan, the highest peak in Peninsular Malaysia, stretches across three states, i.e. Pahang, Terengganu and Kelantan. It is a mountain popular with avid and seasoned hikers, with challenging treks. The mountain itself is located in the vicinity of the Pahang National Park and managed under the authority of the Department of Wildlife and National Parks Peninsular Malaysia (PERHILITAN) with a Totally Protected Area status. The summit of Gunung Tahan is 2187 m above sea level.

Geostachys tahanensis is a small-sized ginger described by R.E. Holttum in 1950 (Holttum, 1950). The leafy shoots are tufted and up to 50 cm in height. The leaves are between 19.5 and 26 cm in length and 6.8 to 9 cm in width, elliptic, glabrous and reddish underneath when young. The inflorescences are usually curved downward with the pale yellow flowers arranged on one side. Not much is known about the characteristics of the flower as descriptions provided on the old herbarium specimens dated the early 1900s, are not comprehensive and are mostly in poor condition. Furthermore, a recent collection made by the author in 2005 was a fruiting specimen without flowers. On the other hand, the fruits are ovoid, glabrous and chili red in colour, measuring about 1.2 × 1.4 cm. As with other Geostachys, the rhizomes are well supported above ground by its stilt roots.

As its name suggests, G. tahanensis was first found on Gunung Tahan and its distribution has not changed much since then. This is because the species has not been found at other locations during subsequent searches. Currently, the species is hyper-endemic, i.e. only to be found in its type locality, which is around the area of Wray’s Camp, a camp site of about a thousand meters in elevation. While no prominent threats are currently identified in its habitat, the population which for the moment is only known to consist of several clumps, is restricted to the site where it grows on loose soil in the understorey. The species is categorised as Vulnerable (VU) following the modified Malaysian Red List Categories (Chua, 2012).


  1. Chua, L.S.L. (2012). Conservation. In Kiew, R., Chung, R.C.K., Saw, L.G. & Soepadmo, E. (Eds.), Flora of Peninsular Malaysia, Series II: Seed Plants, Volume 3. Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM).
  2. Holttum, R.E. (1950). The Zingiberaceae of the Malay Peninsula. The Gardens’ Bulletin Singapore 13 (1), 141-142
QR Code
Scan QR code for mobile experience

Other articles

Tragulus napu (F. Cuvier, 1822)

Mrs. Aziemah Binti Kinan   •   29 Mar 2024   •   39 views

Manilkara zapota (Sapotaceae)

Mrs. Syazwani Binti Azeman   •   29 Feb 2024   •   411 views

Sonerila griffithii C.B.Clarke (Melastomataceae)

Dr. Avelinah Julius   •   31 Jan 2024   •   794 views

Meistera lappacea (Ridl.) Škorničk. & M.F.Newman (Zingiberaceae)

Siti Eisya Nabiha Damahuri & Dr. Avelinah Julius   •   31 Dec 2023   •   964 views

Ploiarium alternifolium (Bonnetiaceae)

Mrs. Syazwani Bt. Azeman   •   15 Dec 2023   •   1409 views
Today, there are less than 200 Malayan tigers left in our country.
#SaveOurMalayanTiger. Visit
Malaysia Biodiversity Information System (MyBIS)   by   Malaysia Biodiversity Centre (MBC)

Copyright © 2024, Malaysia Biodiversity Centre (MBC), Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Sustainability (NRES). All rights reserved. DISCLAIMER - The Malaysian Government, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Sustainability (NRES), Malaysia Biodiversity Centre (MBC) and Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM) shall not be liable for any loss or damage caused by the usage of any information obtained from this website. By entering this site, you acknowledge and agree that no portion of this site, including but not limited to names, logos, trademarks, patents, sound, graphics, charts, text, audio, video, information or images are either MyBIS property or the property permitted by third-party and shall not be used without prior written approval from the owner(s).
Best viewed using latest Mozila Firefox, Google Chrome and Internet Explorer 10 with Resolution 1024 x 768px or above. Version 2.0 / 2016
Website Citation: MyBIS (2024). Malaysia Biodiversity Information System. Published on the Internet, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Sustainability, Malaysia Biodiversity Centre & Forest Research Institute Malaysia. [Retrieved 17 April 2024].