Alpinia malaccensis (Burm.f.) Roscoe

Alpinia malaccensis (Burm.f.) Roscoe




Languas malaccensis (Burm.f.) Merrill, Catimbium malaccense (Burm.f.) Holttum.

Vernacular Names

Malaysia Puar, bangle.
Indonesia Laja gowah (Sundanese), langkuas malaka (Moluccas), susuk (Lampung).
Philippines Tagbak babae (Tagalog), barapat (Igorot), birao-birao (Sulu).
Thailand Kha paa (Northern, North-eastern).
Vietnam ri[eef]ng malacca.

Geographical Distributions

Alpinia malaccensis is widespread from the moister parts of mountainous regions of India towards Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines. Cultivated in north-eastern India, Java and southern China.


A. malaccensis is a robust herb that can grow measures up to 2-4 m tall and with strong aromatic when bruised.

The leaves are narrowly lance-shaped, measuring 40-90 cm x 7(-20) cm, acuminate, usually densely pubescent below or pubescent on margins and midrib and densely short hairs sheath near the blade. The ligule is an entire, up to 1 cm long, hairy and with 3-7 cm long petiole.

The inflorescence is racemose, erect or slightly curved, measures about 35 cm long, with 30 or more cincinni and absent bracts. The bracteoles are 1.5-2 cm long, caducous as the flower opens and white. The pedicel is 0.5-1.5 cm long. The sepal is 2 cm long, shortly 3-lobed and deeply split unilaterally. It is white and pubescent. The petal is white. The tube is measuring up to 1 cm long and ciliate lobes. The lateral lobes are 3 cm x 1 cm while the dorsal lobe is measures up to 4 cm x 2.5 cm. The labellum is broadly ovate, 3-5 cm long and at the widest part is 3 cm across, incurved sides, narrow to emarginate apex where at the base is with 2 papillose fleshy swellings that is yellow-orange with scarlet lines. The lateral staminodes are subulate and measuring up to 5 mm long. The filament of stamen is measures about 1 cm long. The anther connective is not prolonged into a crest.

The red capsule is spherical, up to 3 cm in diametre and shortly pubescent.

The seed is 3-4-angular and about 5 mm long.

Ecology / Cultivation

A. malaccensis is commonly found in primary forest and shaded rocky outcrops at low and medium altitudes.

Line Drawing / Photograph



    1. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 12 (2): Medicinal and poisonous plants.