An Eco-sustainable World
HerbaceousSpecies Plant

Amomum smithiae

Amomum smithiae

The serai acheh (Amomum smithiae (Y.K.Kam) Skornick. & Hlavatá) is a herbaceous species belonging to the Zingiberaceae family.

Systematic –
From a systematic point of view it belongs to:
Eukaryota domain,
Kingdom Plantae,
Division Magnoliophyta,
Class Liliopsida,
Zingiberales Order,
Family Zingiberaceae,
Subfamily Alpinioideae,
Genus Amomum,
Species A. smithiae.
The term is synonymous:
– Elettariopsis smithiae Y.K.Kam (1982).

Etymology –
The term Amomum comes from amomum, the name of an oriental aromatic plant mentioned by Virgil from which a precious balm was extracted (from the Greek ἄμωμος ámomos irreproachable, perfect, derived from the privative prefix α- a- senza and from μῶμος mómos blame, criticism).
The specific epithet smithiae is in honor of the Scottish botanist Rosemary Margaret Smith (1933-2004) who dedicated almost entirely her professional activity to the study of the Zingiberaceae.

Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
Amomum smithiae is a plant native to Peninsular Malaysia and Thailand.
Its habitat is that of the undergrowth of humid forests, both lowland and hilly.

Description –
Amomum smithiae is a herbaceous, perennial plant with creeping rhizome, evergreen.
From this, dense tufts with pseudostems are formed, up to about 70 cm high.
These are equipped with 2-6 leaves, on a 2.5-6 cm long petiole, elliptical-lanceolate, 25-35 cm long and 4-7 cm wide, with an entire margin and a caudate apex about 2 cm long, green in colour. intense gloss; the crumpled leaves give off a lemon scent.
The inflorescences form at the base of the pseudo stem on a short peduncle; usually hidden by the thick layer of plant debris that covers the forest floor, with creamy-white flowers, about 7 cm long, which open in succession. These have a tubular calyx, about 3 cm long, with a bilobed apex, a corolla with a thin tube 5 cm long, a spatulate and concave (cucullate) dorsal lobe and ovate lateral lobes, an ovate labellum with creped margins, white in color with an intense yellow central band , which acts as a guide for the pollinating insect, and red veins.
The fruit is a capsule about 3 cm in diameter.

Cultivation –
Amomum smithiae is a plant that grows spontaneously in Peninsular Malaysia and Thailand in undergrowth areas of humid forests, both lowland and hilly.
It is a fast-growing plant with ornamental foliage and showy flowers that seem to sprout from the ground.
For its cultivation it needs a climate with high temperatures and humidity, both in the air and in the soil; the plant is suitable as a ground cover in shady gardens, even small ones, on draining soils rich in organic substance.
It can be cultivated in pots for the decoration of greenhouses, winter gardens and even dimly lit interiors, with minimum temperature values above 16 °C and high humidity, which can be obtained by resorting to frequent nebulisations with non-calcareous water, to avoid unsightly appearances. spots on the leaves, at room temperature.
The plant reproduces by seed, in a draining organic substrate kept humid at a temperature of 24-28 °C, but usually and easily also by division.

Customs and Traditions –
Amomum smithiae is a plant known in its places of origin with the common names of serai acheh, tepus wangi (Malay).
Some parts of this plant are used for edible purposes.
Furthermore, essential oils are obtained from them.
The essential oils obtained by hydrodistillation of the leaves, rhizomes and roots of this plant contain mainly monoterpenoids; the main components are: geranial (38.1%) and neral (29.1%) in the leaf oil, and camphene (22.9%) and α-fenchyl acetate (15.7%) in the i rhizomes and roots.

Preparation Method –
Amomum smithiae is a plant used not only as an ornamental in some parts of the world, but also as a food plant.
Furthermore, an essential oil can be extracted from leaves, rhizomes and roots which can have useful uses.

Guido Bissanti

– Acta Plantarum – Flora of the Italian Regions.
– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– GBIF, the Global Biodiversity Information Facility.
– Useful Tropical Plants Database.
– Conti F., Abbate G., Alessandrini A., Blasi C. (ed.), 2005. An annotated checklist of the Italian vascular flora, Palombi Editore.
– Pignatti S., 1982. Flora d’Italia, Edagricole, Bologna.
– Treben M., 2000. Health from the Lord’s Pharmacy, Advice and experiences with medicinal herbs, Ennsthaler Editore.

Photo source:

Attention: Pharmaceutical applications and food uses are indicated for informational purposes only, they do not represent in any way a medical prescription; we therefore decline any responsibility for their use for healing, aesthetic or food purposes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *