草豆蔻 shell-flower/ beautiful galangal

草豆蔻,是香港常見的多年生常綠草本植物。從山頂沿盧吉道下,一路都見她們的芳踪。夏未至,草豆蔻開始閃閃生輝。這棵生於炮台里一道通往皇后大道中的階梯旁。總狀花序,如一梳貝殼吐珠。

the chinese name of this plant reminds me of ‘nutmeg’. they are actually totally unrelated. beautiful galangal or shell flower is native to eastern asia. according to wikipedia, “this plant is a rhizomatous, ever green tropical perennial that grows in upright clumps 8–10 feet tall in tropical climates. it bears funnel-formed flowers. flowers have white or pink perianths with yellow labella with red spots and stripes. there are three stamens, but only one has pollen. there is one pistil”. the blossoming is quite dramatic. pearls of flower break the shell of the bud and the pinky white petals shimmer.

草豆蔻生于林緣、灌叢或山坡草叢中。主產廣東、臺灣、海南、廣西。别名很多,台灣多用豔山姜(可能同科同屬不同種植物)、月桃(亦可能同科不同屬植物)。其他名字包括枸薑、良薑、草扣、玉桃、虎子花及熊竹蘭等。

初夏,有些繼續開花,很多開始結出生澀的果子。《維基百科》說:果為蒴果,卵圓形或橢球形,先端具宿存的花萼,披稀疏的粗毛,具多條顯著的縱棱,綠色,成熟時朱紅色,沿縱棱開裂,直徑約1.5-2厘米。另,其地下莖橫生,延伸無性繁殖長出新分枝;具短縮莖。

it is common in hong kong. i believe you can spot them at any countrypark here. last week when i took a walk in the peak, they are flowering and fruiting all along lugard road. the fruit is globose and green in the beginning. it will turn red with many striations.

草豆蔻  beautiful galangal/shell-flower (alpinia zerumbet) – 植物界 plantae kingdom | 被子植物門 magnoliophyta division | 單子葉植物綱 liliopsida class | 薑目 zingiberales order | 薑科 zingiberaceae family | 山薑屬 alpinia genus | 種:艷山薑 a.zerumbet species

參考:

  • 唐朝杜牧〈贈別詩二首之一〉:「娉娉裊裊十三餘,豆蔻梢頭二月初。春風十里揚州路,捲上珠簾總不如。」
  • 中藥中也有草豆蔻。來源為姜科植物草豆蔻alpinia katsumadai hayata 的乾燥近成熟種子。八至九月果實由綠變黃時採收,曬至八九成乾,除去果皮,將種子團曬乾。種子團類圓球形,直徑1.5~2.7cm,表面褐色,中間有白色隔膜將種子團分成3瓣,每瓣有種子22~100粒,粘連緊密;略光滑,不易散落。種子呈卵圓狀多面體,長3~5mm,直徑約3mm,外被淡棕色膜質假種皮,種脊為1條縱溝,一端有種臍;質硬,將種子沿種脊縱剖兩瓣,表面觀呈斜心形;胚乳灰白色。氣香,味辛、微苦。 《醫學百科
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