Since the time of Linnaeus taxonomists have said that Zingiberaceae need to be studied from living plants, and as though to emphasize this, too many collectors have thrust leafy shoots and inflorescences into the press, jotted down a few rather obvious field notes (or none) and left the taxonomist to do his worst. At first the trouble experienced was simply that of understanding the structure of a flower in which most of the petaloid parts are staminodal in origin. Individual flowers of many Zingiberaceae are soft and watery and often surrounded by mucilage. Roughly pressed, especially if pressed in the inflorescence, their structure is lost beyond recall. As time went on the basic structural problems were elucidated. But the number of known Zingiberaceae has been constantly rising and with it the taxonomist’s cry that material is still too often inadequate. Now it is not only floral form that is so often lost; the structure of the inflorescence, or of the cincinni making up the compound inflorescence, cannot be easily elucidated in the herbarium, and in more recent classifications (Valeton, Bull. Jard. Bot. Btzg ii 17, 1918; Holttum, Gard. Bull. 13, 1950) this has come to play a more and more important part.