The Gingers of Malaysia and Borneo

The Zingiberaceae is group of plants commonly known as “ginger”. It is a prominent component of tropical floras throughout the world with the center of distribution in SE Asia. The species richness of Bornean gingers is quite high as the greatest concentration of genera and species is in the Malesian region (Indonesia, Malaysia, the island of Borneo, the Philippines and Papua New Guinea.

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The Gingers of Kinabalu Park in Sabah

The center of diversity for the ginger family, Zingiberaceae, is the Indo-Malayan region with approximately 160 species occurring in Peninsular Malaysia. Borneo is still insufficiently known and under explored for gingers but may have more species than Peninsular Malaysia. One genus, Burbidgea, is not known to occur outside of Borneo. Geanthus was another genus found only in Borneo but now is included in the genus Etlingera.

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Nepenthes rajah from Mt. Kinabalu, Sabah

Carnivorous plants are fascinating in that they capture and digest various prey in order to accumulate nutrients for growth. The habitats where they normally occur are nutrient poor. There are many species of carnivorous plants and they are found throughout the world. Of the seven genera of Pitcher plants, the Nepenthes genus is the largest found from Northern Australia throughout Southeast Asia to Southern China. There are also some species found in India, Madagascar, and a few other islands.

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