The the Americas. Plants in Zingiberaceae family are

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
Zingiberaceae family.















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).


and Habitat

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.

2.3       Recent
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
on overall morphology of samples collected, species of Zingiberaceae were
identified through vegetative characteristics including leaves, stem and
rhizomes. Primarily, identification of species in this family is done through
flower morphology analysis but due to unavailability of flower sample retrieval
from sampling site, vegetative characteristics were instead used.   Based on observation of collected samples, the
samples collected from shaded area tend to have glabrous leaf while samples of
open area usually have pubescent leaves.            From Scaphochlamys
breviscapa, we can observe that the species have pseudostems without leaf
sheath. The leaf  is single, sessile and
alternately arranged with elliptic lamina. The venation is craspedodromous and trichomes
are absent  From Hornstedtia
sp, it can be observed that the species have pseudostem with leaf sheath. The
leaf is single, petiolate and arranged alternately with elliptic lamina. The
venation is craspedodromous and trichomes are present on bot adaxial and
abaxial surface.     4.3 ECOLOGYThere
are various types of environment from sampling site which contributes to the
distribution of Zingiberaceae species found throughout the Kuantan district. We
can observe that the average height of plant samples was higher in shaded
forest habitat of Kuala Kuantan compared to open area of Ulu Kuantan and
mangrove area of Sungai Karang. This may be due to greater suitability of
Zingiberaceae to inhabit shaded area with high moisture content thus
contributes to relatively greater size of plants. Samples collected from shaded
area also was observed to have glabrous leaf while samples of open area
displayed pubescent leaves. Altitude is a major factor influencing the
Zingiberaceae distribution as the number of species increased consistently with
rise of elevation.   Soil type also contributes to distribution of
Zingiberaceae as it affects nutrient availability to the plants. From the
gathered data, three types of soil was observed from the sampling site which
constitutes of loamy soil (shaded forest and open area) and alluvium soil (in
mangrove area). Collection of Zingiberaceae in loamy soil of Kuala Kuantan and
Ulu Kuantan yielded the highest number of species compared to alluvium soil of
mangrove area in Sungai Karang.Apart from environmental effect, human
activities can also affect Zingiberaceae distribution. For example, sampling
site in Kuala Kuantan showed disturbance of forest where some areas was damaged
by illegal logging. In fact, the number of species found should have been
higher if not for the destructive deforestation damage.4.4 GEOGRAPHICAL

the total of 23 samples collected, 12 distinct species from at least 4 genera
was identified (refer Table 4.3). Compared with previous record, Holttum (1950)
stated that there were only 3 genera in Kuantan district. Based on the study
conducted, Zingiberaceae species was most abundant in Kuala Kuantan  with 18 species.From
the study, a total of 23 samples from 13 species was collected. The  most abundant location of Zingiberaceae was
in shaded forest of Kuala Kuantan totalling up to 18 samples from 10 species. We
can observe that the average height of plant samples was higher in shaded
forest habitat of Kuala Kuantan compared to other habitat types of open area of
Ulu Kuantan and mangrove area of Sungai Karang. This may be due to greater
suitability of Zingiberaceae to inhabit shaded area with high moisture content
thus contributes to relatively greater size of plants. Among the samples
obtained, only two species was successfully identified which are Scaphochlamys breviscapa and Horstedtia sp which was found in both
Kuala Kuantan and Ulu Kuantan. The two identified species was also found to be
the most abundant species of Zingiberaceae in Kuantan. The inability to
identify all species found was due to absence of flower during the time of
collection as flowers of Zingiberaceae is notoriously rare and only blooms for
a brief time period. This was detrimental to identification efforts as
Zingiberaceae identification key of species heavily relies on reproductive
structures. Insufficient information regarding Zingiberaceae also affected the
study as records of Zingiberaceae are mostly outdated. In short, flower parts
are easy to identify Zingiberaceae species compared to leaf, stem and rhizome
parts. For future references in Zingiberaceae, it is recommended that the
length of study and frequency of sampling be increased to increase the chances
of obtaining flower samples of Zingiberaceae for easier identification process.