8. Kaempferia rotunda L. ZINGIBERACEAE

Hindi: bhumichampa, भूमी चम्पा

This plant is a member of the ginger family from tropical South-East Asia. It is widely cultivated, and possibly also native, in India, where it is grown in gardens for its fragrant flowers, which appear before the leaves in April. It has long been grown in Britain as a greenhouse plant. According to the Hortus Malabaricus, a seventeenth-century book on the plants of the Kerala coast, the whole plant was dried and powdered and used for healing wounds. The root is still used medicinally for treating swellings and tumours. It is also used in cosmetics, as a dye and a food flavouring. The illustration shown here was made for Hugh Cleghorn in 1856: it shows a plant that had been sent to the garden of the Agri-Horticultural Society in Chennai from Rangoon in Burma.

 

Watercolour by Govindoo, 1856, from the Cleghorn Collection

     

    RBGE Living Collections Accession Factsheet
    Accession Number:19590678
    Scientific Name:Kaempferia rotunda L.
    Family:Zingiberaceae
    Genus:Kaempferia
    Epithet:rotunda
    Plant:19590678C
    Location:/Living Collections/Inverleith/G53/0480
    Plant:19590678B
    Location:/Living Collections/Unplaced
    Plant:19590678A
    Location:/Living Collections/Inverleith/G53/0560
     Location: 55.967319116,-3.206795399