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General Features of the family Zingiberaceae

Zingiberaceae with about 50 genera and more than 1500 species are distributed mainly in the tropics and subtropics. India has rich diversity of Zingiberaceous plants. perhaps 200 of the world taxa occur in India. Many species are economically important as source of food.


This family forms an important group with considerable economic potential with plants such as Amomum, Alpinia, Curcuma, Elettaria, Kaempferia, Zingiber, etc. Many members of this group (Alpinia calcarata, Curcuma longa, Elettaria cardamomum, Kaempferia galanga, K. rotunda etc.) have been used in Ayurvedic and other native systems of medicine from time immemorial and some are well known spices (Elettaria cardamomum). This is far more important “National spice” of India and is known as “Queen of Spices” and it forms one of the most valuable crops of S.India. Zingiber officinale also constitutes one of the five most important major spices of India and a traditional item of export from ancient time.

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