Cautleya gracilis is a perennial herbaceous plant in the family Zingiberaceae (the gingers). It is found in the Himalayas through to south China and Vietnam.[1] 

It is cultivated as an ornamental garden plant, hardy to a few degrees of frost.
What appear to be stems in Cautle
species are actually “pseudostems” formed by the tightly wrapped bases or sheaths of the leaves. In C. gracilis, the pseudostems are 25–80 cm (10–31 in) tall, with some purely sheathing leaves at the base. Other leaves also have blades, free from the pseudostem, 6–20 cm (2.4–7.9 in) long by 1.5–6 cm (0.6–2.4 in) wide. The
inflorescence is a spike, with typically 2–10 loosely spaced flowers in C. gracilis var. gracilis and 15–20 more tightly spaced flowers making a compact “head” in C. gracilis var. robusta.[3]
Each yellow or orange flower has a complex structure. A green bract surrounds the sepals, which are largely fused, forming a tubular calyx, split along one side, which is longer than the bract, being 1.5–2 cm (0.59–0.79 in) long. Inside the calyx, the three petals are fused at the base to form a tube which is longer than the calyx, so that it protrudes. At the end of the tube the petals form three lobes, 1.2–2 cm (0.5–0.8 in) long. Inside the petals are three petal-like structures (staminodes). The two side staminodes are upright. The lip or labellum is bent downwards and is divided into two at the tip. The single stamen has a two-pronged “spur” at base of the anther, formed by connective tissue.[3]
The seed capsule is red when ripe, splitting to reveal the black seeds.
A small white aril is present in C. gracilis var. robusta but is absent in C. gracilis var. gracilis.[3]
(From Wikipedia on 30.8.13)

Kalatope id al240911a:
A very nice flower/fruit.. although the petals seem to be quite stiff
and I have never been able to see it budding
Location Kalatope, Chamba
Altitude 2200 mts

Habit herb
Habitat wild
Height 2 feet

Season September

It is Cautleya sp. probably C. gracilis.

Thanks …, I was in fact struck by the leaf resemblance to the Spiked Ginger Lily plant which is found aplenty here..

It was a learning for me as well.
Thank you for the wonderful pictures which was new to me.
Curiosity always drive us to keep going and we are moving together by helping each others, in that process no trouble at all.


Cautleya gracilis for validation:: NS June 04 : 3 posts by 2 authors. Attachments (5).
Please validate if this one is Cautleya gracilis, was shot from Pelling in Sikkim in the month of May 2014.

Yes this should be C. gracilis

Thanks for confirmation …

Cautleya gracilis (Zingiberaceae) from Uttarakhand: Aug. 2014_DSR_5 : 4 posts by 4 authors. Attachments (1).
Cautleya gracilis (J.E.Sm.) Dandy (Zingiberaceae) is a common herb in temperate and subalpine Uttarakhand.
Here photographed near Kalamuni, Munsyari, Uttarakhand.
I have also added list of Indian species of Cautleya in eFI database based on Karthikeyan et al. (1989) 

Yes, you are right

Thanks … for showing this from Uttrakhand..
We shot this from Pelling, in Sikkim..

sharing picture of Cautleya gracilis
from Sikkim May 2014

Beautiful…!! at a “walking” distance from Pelling..

Araceae, Arecaceae and Zingiberaceae Fortnight: Zingiberaceae- Cautleya gracilis from Dhanolti-GSG (AUG12) : 1 post by 1 author. Attachments (1).
Cautleya gracilis from Dhanolti, Mussoorie. Photo clicked last week (30.8.14) under heavy clouds. The plant was encountered mostly in epiphytic condition.


This herb was recorded from Pelling in May 2014, please validate/correct the id..
Cautleya gracilis is the id I have got…

Nice photos …

Thanks for confirmation and liking …


MS Oct.2016/09 Cautleya gracilis (Sm.) Dandy : 1 post by 1 author. Attachments (2)

Place : Saireptlang, Lunglei district, Mizoram
Altitude : 1,520 m.

Date : 21/09/2016
Habit : Epiphytic herb
Habitat : Wild


MS July, 2019/03 Cautleya sp. for Id : 6 posts by 3 authors. Attachments (2)
Location : Sairep, Mizoram
Date : 21-09-2016
Habit : Epiphytic on trees
Habitat : Wild

Cautleya spicata.

Cautleya gracilis?


SK289JAN01-2016:ID : 8 posts by 3 authors. Attachments (5)
Location: Godawari Botanical Garden, Nepal
Altitude:  5000 ft.
Date: 14 September 2013

Seems to be Zingiberaceae. Perhaps someone else will immediately recognise it to save me checking it further?

Cautleya gracilis fruit wall after dispersal of seeds.

Thank you … I guessed some Orchid LOL !

Thank you, Professor for identifying this member of Zingiberaceae.
I have rather a lot “on my plate” at present, so saved me the trouble of checking the likely candidates within this family.
Flora of Kathmandu Valley records it @ 2200-2770m below Phulchoki which is in forest above the Godawari Botanic garden, as an undergrowth.
According to this, both C.gracilis and C.spicata are known locally as ‘San Saro’.
The capsules are globular, red.


Cautleya gracilis (Sm.) Dandy ??? : 6 posts by 3 authors. Attachments (7)
Location:  Lamahatta, Darjeeling, India 
Date: 22 May  2017
Altitude: 6800 ft.

I do share your opinion …

Yes it is correct.

MS June, 2019/10 Cautleya sp. for id : 4 posts by 3 authors. Attachments (2)
Location : Tan tlang, Mizoram
Altitude : ca 1,800 m.
Date : 01-06-2019
Habit : Herb (epyphytic or terrestrial)
Habitat : Wild

Cautleya spicata (Sm.) Baker ?

Cautleys gracilis


Cautleya spicata ABJUL01/35 : 4 posts by 3 authors. 5 images.

Ever since … posted this species, I have been on a look out for them. I finally found several plants flowering yesterday at about 2000m. Please advise if I am mistaking its identity.
Cautleya spicataSpiked Shade Ginger
Above Mcleodganj, Dharamshala, HP
23 July, 2016

Beautiful photographs, …

This is Cautleya gracilis var. gracilis (Sm.) Dandy. Note the lax inflorescence with 2- 5 flowers  while in Cautleya spicata the  inflorescence is dense with more number of flowers…


Cautleya gracilis var. gracilis (Sm.) Dandy submission AS20 July22: 7 images- 5 high res.

Cautleya gracilis var. gracilis (Sm.) Dandy
Synonyms- Cautleya luteaRoscoea lutea
Family- Zingiberaceae
Photographed in Kullu District, Himachal Pradesh
Dated – 15 July 2022
Here I am submitting some images of Cautleya gracilis var. gracilis (type variety) which can be easily distinguished from Cautleya gracilis var. robusta (K.Schum.) Sanjappa by its lax 1-5 flowered inflorescence and shorter floral bracts (upto half the length of calyx)
Please refer to following publication for more details
Following above publication there are Four taza under genus Cautleya, so I am adding the key for Cautleya species here for easy identification –
Cautleya spicata – Leaves petiolate and prominent aril in fruit covering completely covering the seed.
Cautleya gracilis var. gracilis – Inflorescence lax, 1-5 flowered, short floral bracts extending only upto half the length of calyx & rhizome running.
Cautleya gracilis var. robusta – Inflorescence dense, more than 10 flowered, floral bracts extending beyond half the length of calyx & rhizome clump forming. Floral bracts, calyx glabrous and corolla tube 2.6-2.7cm long 
Cautleya gracilis var. hispida  Floral bracts, calyx pubescent, corolla tube 1 4-1.8cm long as long as calyx.

There are couple of misidentification on our Cautleya sp. page on which i will be commenting shortly.





The Plant List  Annotated checklist of the flowering plants of Nepal  Flora of China  Wikipedia  

Leave a Reply

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