Amomum subulatum (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Amomum subulatum Roxb.

Family: Zingiberaceae


  • Cardamomum subulatum (Roxb.) Kuntze.

Vernacular names

  • Bengal or Nepal cardamom, winged cardamom, greater cardamom (En)


Eastern Himalayas, Nepal. In Nepal and India also cultivated.


Seed used as a substitute for cardamom and applied to sweeten food. Seed and its oil are also used medicinally.


  • Rhizomatous herb with leafy shoots about 1 m tall and separate inflorescences.
  • Leaves sessile on the sheaths, narrow-lanceolate, 30-60 cm × 7.5-10 cm.
  • Inflorescence a dense globose spike, 5-7.5 cm in diameter, on a short peduncle.
  • Flower with yellow-white, emarginate labellum, much longer than corolla segments; stamens with very short filament and entire anther appendage.
  • Fruit a globose capsule, about 2.5 cm in diameter, red-brown, densely covered with soft, irregularly toothed wing-like outgrowths.

In the area of distribution A. subulatum occurs in the lower mountains, often along watercourses. Flowering is in March-April, fruiting in the rainy season. Seed contains cineol. Possibly also of interest for South-East Asia.

Selected sources

  • Burkill, I.H., 1935. A dictionary of the economic products of the Malay Peninsula. 2 volumes. Crown Agents for the Colonies, London, United Kingdom. 2402 pp. (slightly revised reprint, 1966. 2 volumes. Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 2444 pp.).
  • Burtt, B.L. & Smith, R.M., 1972. Notes on Malesian Zingiberaceae. Notes from the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh 31: 307-316.
  • Hooker, J.D., 1872-1897. Flora of British India. 7 volumes. Reeve, London, United Kingdom.
  • Mansfeld, R., 1986. Verzeichnis landwirtschaftlicher und gärtnerischer Kulturpflanzen (ohne Zierpflanzen) [Register of agricultural and horticultural plants in cultivation (without ornamentals)]. Schultze‑Motel, J. et al., editors 2nd edition, 4 volumes. Springer Verlag, Berlin, Germany. 1998 pp.
  • Roxburgh, W., 1832. Flora Indica. Carey edition. Reprint 1874. Thacker, Spink & Co., Calcutta, India. 763 pp.
  • Schumann, K., 1912. Zingiberaceae. In: Engler, A. (Editor): Das Pflanzenreich (The plant kingdom). Reihe Scitamineae. Fam. 46. W. Engelmann, Leipzig, Germany. 458 pp.


P.C.M. Jansen