Trans. Linn. Soc. Lond. 10: 250 (1811); R.M. Sm., Notes R. Bot. Gard. Edinb. 43: 461-463 (1986)
Low to robust herbs with creeping rhizome. Inflorescence elongate, branched, terminal on a separate leafless shoot, usually prostrate and subterranean with only the tips of the flowers visible; bracts remote, each subtending a several-many-flowered cincinnus; bracteole tubular; flowers white, yellow or orange; calyx tubular, 3-dentate, split down 1 side; corolla tube more than twice the length of the lobes; lateral staminodes small, subulate or absent; labellum about as long as the petals, obovate; filament short or absent, crest inconspicuous or absent; ovary 3-locular. Capsule globose or ellipsoid, indehiscent; seeds arilate. 2n 48, 50. (From Kubitsky, et al., p. 494)
Four species of Elettaria are found in the Malesian region, and one, E. cardamomum, is endemic to Sri Lanka, but much cultivated in India and Guatemala, and naturalized in E Africa (Tanzania).
Comprises about seven species.
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