Ganesh Mani Pradhan & Son
The Nursery

Amomum subulatum

Local name in Nepali: alaichi (A-lai-chee)

Description: A clustering ginger with stems growing up to 5ft tall. Leaves are found on the upper portion of the stem. This is an evergreen plant with the old stems dying down after a few years. The rhizomes are a dull red in color. Flower buds appear in  spring from the base of the rhizome. The peduncle is short and the buds encased in tight red bracts. Flowers appear from spring through mid summer. Individual flowers stay open for three days and more and new ones open successively. An inflorescence stays in flower for over a month.

Habitat: This species is native to the Eastern Himalayas and inhabits cool forest areas near mountain streams and damp forest floors. Grows fast and vigorously during the summer monsoon months.

Ethnobotany: Amomum subulatum is the large cardamom of commerce. The seed capsules are harvested in autumn and dried and these aromatic dried capsules are sold in markets. Amomum subulatum is an important economic crop in the Eastern Himalayas and specially in the District of Darjeeling and state of Sikkim where it is cultivated in large areas. Typically, cultivation is in woodland areas with overhead shade and access to regular irrigation from mountain streams. A number of horticultural variants of the species are grown commercially

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Amomum subulatum plantation under forest cover

     

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