Fay, Michael F. Jodrell Laboratory, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, United Kingdom.
Last reviewed:January 2021
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An order of flowering plants, division Magnoliophyta, in the monocots, consisting of eight families and about 1800 species. Zingiberales (also known as Scitamineae or Scitaminales) are morphologically well defined and clearly circumscribed in DNA sequence analyses. The largest families are Zingiberaceae (about 1000 species), Marantaceae (about 400 species), Costaceae (about 150 species), and Heliconiaceae (about 100 species). Zingiberales are most closely related to Commelinales, and the enigmatic Hanguana from southeast Asia is difficult to place with certainty in either order. Zingiberales are herbs or scarcely branched trees or shrubs with pinnately veined leaves and irregular flowers that have well-differentiated sepals and petals, an inferior ovary, septal or septa-derived nectaries, and usually either one or five functional stamens. The endosperm is starchy, and the stomates have two or (usually) more subsidiary cells. The economic crops, ginger (Zingiber officinale) in Zingiberaceae and banana (Musa) in Musaceae, and the ornamentals, bird of paradise flower (Strelitzia) in Strelitziaceae and Canna in Cannaceae, are familiar members of Zingiberales. See also: Banana; Commelinales; Flower; Fruit; Ginger; Liliopsida; Magnoliophyta
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