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Kaempferia in an urn

Kaempferia rotunda

Kaempferia rotunda

What a beauty! Folded up the sheet will reveal an urn, with the plant, a species of Kaempferia of the ginger family (Zingiberaceae), mounted as it was growing out of the urn. The genus is named after German botanist Engelbert Kaempfer (1651-1716), the first western botanist to thoroughly describe the Japanese flora, naming and describing the maidenhair tree (Ginkgo, 17C Japanese: ginkyo). Is it Kaempfer who inspired Toshihiko Tsukiji to the name Kämpfer for his light novel series? The plant itself, Kaempferia rotunda, is a cultivated ornamental and medicinal herb. The specimen itself is from the herbarium of Jan Frederik Gronovius (1686-1762), patron of Carl Linnaeus.

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