Genus:
Curcuma L.

Curcuma roscoeana Wall.

Curcuma roscoeana is a rhizomatous, perennial herb. Its bright colours make it valued as a pot plant and cut flower. It is cultivated worldwide and is one of the most popular gingers (members of the Zingiberaceae family) in cultivation. The genus Curcuma also includes turmeric (Curcuma longa), the rhizomes of which are the source of a bright yellow spice (an important constituent of curry powder) and dye.

[KSP]

Kew Species Profiles

General Description
A popularly cultivated Curcuma, with beautiful, bright orange or yellow flowers, jewel of Burma is a member of the ginger family and an important Thai export.

Curcuma roscoeana is a rhizomatous, perennial herb. Its bright colours make it valued as a pot plant and cut flower. It is cultivated worldwide and is one of the most popular gingers (members of the Zingiberaceae family) in cultivation. The genus Curcuma also includes turmeric (Curcuma longa), the rhizomes of which are the source of a bright yellow spice (an important constituent of curry powder) and dye.

Species Profile
Geography and distribution

Native to Thailand, Burma (Myanmar) and the Andaman Islands (India), and possibly also Bangladesh. Curcuma roscoeana was collected from forests in Jharkhand and West Bengal (India), between 1875 and 1900, but has not been found in these localities since. It grows in lowland to premontane, evergreen, semi-evergreen and deciduous forests. It is most common in open, grassy, deciduous forests, in riparian habitats (adjacent to rivers and streams), and often within bamboo thickets, at up to 800 m above sea level. It is locally common, and grows on the forest floor.

Description

A seasonally dormant, rhizomatous herb growing up to one metre tall. The leaves are broadly ovate to elliptic, light green with darker veins, and up to 30 cm long. The tubular flowers are yellow, with peach-orange to dark red-orange bracts. The cut flowers last about two weeks.

Threats and conservation

Ornamental gingers have rapidly increased in popularity over the past few years, leading to an increase in illegal collecting from the wild. Although not easy to cultivate, Curcuma roscoeana is a striking plant with high ornamental value. It is widely available for sale worldwide and has become an important export for Thailand. The volume of exported rhizomes collected from the wild is unknown. Fortunately, C. roscoeana is also cultivated as a cut flower and pot plant, and micropropagation protocols have been developed, which are likely to have relieved pressure on wild populations.

Deforestation rates are high in parts of the range of Curcuma roscoeana . Many forests in Thailand have been felled to clear land for agriculture or settlements, and illegal logging for timber also occurs. C. roscoeana has been collected in disturbed primary forest, but its ability to regenerate and persist in secondary forest is unknown.

Conservation assessments carried out at Kew

Curcuma roscoeana is being monitored as part of the 'IUCN Sampled Red List Index for Plants', which aims to produce conservation assessments for a representative sample of the world's plant species. This information will then be used to monitor trends in extinction risk and help focus conservation efforts where they are needed most.

Uses

Jewel of Burma is cultivated as a pot plant and also for cut flowers.

This species at Kew

Jewel of Burma can be seen growing in the Princess of Wales Conservatory at Kew.

Pressed and dried specimens of Curcuma roscoeana are held in Kew's Herbarium, where they are available to researchers by appointment. The details, including images, of some of these can be seen online in the Herbarium Catalogue. A specimen of a C. roscoeana rhizome is also held in Kew's Economic Botany Collection, where it is available to researchers by appointment.

Distribution
Myanmar, Thailand
Ecology
Forest.
Conservation
Least Concern according to IUCN Red List criteria.
Hazards

None known.

[KSP]
Use
Ornamental.

Doubtfully present in:

Bangladesh

Native to:

Andaman Is., Myanmar, Thailand

English
Hidden Lily, Jewel of Burma

Curcuma roscoeana Wall. appears in other Kew resources:

Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status Has image?
Sep 1, 2005 Put [3996], Thailand K000459671 No
Sep 1, 2005 McLelland [s.n.], Myanmar K000481097 Unknown type material No
Sep 1, 2005 Kostermans, A. [799], Thailand K000459672 No
Sep 1, 2005 Larsen, K. [34161], Thailand K000459669 No
Sep 1, 2005 Kostermans, A. [798], Thailand K000459673 No
Sep 1, 2005 Put [73], Thailand K000459670 No
Aug 1, 2005 Griffith [5724], India K000496033 Unknown type material No
Aug 1, 2005 Bhargawa, N. [6406], India K000481100 Unknown type material No
Aug 1, 2005 Wood, J.J. [187], India K000481095 Unknown type material No
Aug 1, 2005 Haines, H.H. [331], India K000496034 Unknown type material No
Aug 1, 2005 Lace, J.H. [5391], India K000496035 Unknown type material No
Jan 1, 2004 Keenan, J. [1502], Myanmar K000496036 Unknown type material No
Jan 1, 1993 Burke, D. [s.n.], Myanmar K000481096 Unknown type material No
Jan 1, 1993 McLelland [s.n.], Myanmar K000496037 Unknown type material No
Jan 1, 1993 Griffith [5705], Myanmar K000481099 Unknown type material No
Kurz, S. [s.n], Andaman Is. K000640533 isolectotype Yes
Wallich, N. [Cat. no. 6597], Myanmar K001124263 Yes
Kurz, S. [s.n.], Andaman Is K000640534 lectotype Yes
Wallich, N. [Cat. no. 6597], Myanmar K001124262 Yes

First published in Pl. Asiat. Rar. 1: 8 (1829)

Accepted by

  • Govaerts, R. (1999). World Checklist of Seed Plants 3(1, 2a & 2b): 1-1532. MIM, Deurne.
  • Larsen, K. (1996). A prelimanary checklist of the Zingiberaceae of Thailand Thai Forest Bulletin (Botany) 24: 35-49.
  • Sirirugsa, P., Larsen, K. & Maknoi, C. (2007). The genus Curcuma L. (Zingiberaceae): distribution and classification with reference to species diversity in Thailand Gardens' Bulletin Singapore 59: 203-220.
  • Škornicková, J. & Sabu, M. (2005). Curcuma roscoeana Wall. (Zingiberaceae) in India Gardens' Bulletin Singapore 57: 187-198.
  • Škornicková, J.L., Sída, O. & Marhold, K. (2010). Back to types! Towards stability of names in Indian Curcuma L. (Zingiberaceae) Taxon 59: 269-282.

Literature

Kew Species Profiles

  • Larsen, K. (1996). A preliminary checklist of the Zingiberaceae of Thailand. Thai Forest Bull. ( Botany) 24: 35-49.
  • Leong-Škorničková, J., Šída, O. & Marhold, K. (2010). Back to types! Towards stability of names in Indian Curcuma L. (Zingiberaceae). Taxon 59: 269–282.
  • Llamas, K.A. (2003). Tropical Flowering Plants: a Guide to Identification and Cultivation. Timber Press, Portland, Oregon.
  • Romand-Monnier, F. (2009). Curcuma roscoeana. Assessment using IUCN Categories and Criteria 3.1 (IUCN 2001). Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • Sirirugsa, P. (1999). Thai Zingiberaceae: Species Diversity and Their Uses. International Conference on Biodiversity and Bioresources: Conservation and Utilization, 23–27 November 1997, Phuket, Thailand.
  • Sirirugsa, P., Larsen, K. & Maknoi, C. (2007). The genus Curcuma L. (Zingiberaceae): distribution and classification with reference to species diversity in Thailand. Gardens' Bulletin Singapore 59: 203-219.
  • World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (2010). The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. (Accessed 30 April 2011).
  • Škorničková, J. & Sabu, M. (2005). Curcuma roscoeana Wall. (Zingiberaceae) in India. Gardens' Bulletin Singapore 57: 187-198.

Kew Backbone Distributions

  • Larsen, K. (1996). A prelimanary checklist of the Zingiberaceae of Thailand Thai Forest Bulletin (Botany) 24: 35-49.
  • Škornicková, J. & Sabu, M. (2005). Curcuma roscoeana Wall. (Zingiberaceae) in India Gardens' Bulletin Singapore 57: 187-198.

  • Herbarium Catalogue Specimens

    Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

  • Kew Backbone Distributions

    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2022. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
    © Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

  • Kew Living Collection Database

    Common Names from Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew Living Collection https://www.kew.org/

  • Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone

    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2022. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
    © Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

  • Kew Species Profiles

    Kew Species Profiles
    http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0