Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Liliopsida Zingiberales Zingiberaceae

Scientific Name: Amomum tsao-ko
Species Authority: Crevost & Lemarié
Common Name(s):
English Tsao-ko Cardamom

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2011-11-04
Assessor(s): Leong-Skornickova, J., Tran, H.D., Newman, M., Lamxay, V. & Bouamanivong, S.
Reviewer(s): Hilton-Taylor, C. & Bilz, M.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Hilton-Taylor, C.
This species has a small extent of occurrence (7,989 km²) and it appears to be only known from four locations. The main threat is over-collection of the fruits and possible long-term genetic or reduced reproductive success issues and possible inbreeding issues between the wild and cultivated plants, however, at present there is no evidence for continuing decline in numbers of mature individuals. The species is therefore listed as Near Threatened as it almost qualifies for a listing under criterion B1ab.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Recorded from southern China (Yunnan), one province in northern Lao PDR and one province in northern Viet Nam. The extent of occurrence is estimated at 7,989 km² and it occurs at four locations.
Countries occurrence:
China (Yunnan); Lao People's Democratic Republic; Viet Nam
Number of Locations:4
Lower elevation limit (metres):1100
Upper elevation limit (metres):1800
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Seems to be common, but in China and Viet Nam it is not always clear which plants are wild and which are cultivated.
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Grows in evergreen montane forest.

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is cultivated in China and in Viet Nam. The ripe fruits are eaten fresh in Lao (collected from the wild) and cooked in noodle soup in Viet Nam. In China both wild and cultivated fruits are used for medicinal purposes.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The collection of the fruits may pose a future threat to the genetic viability of this species.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The Lao locality is in a protected area (Say Phou Thaleng Protected Area).

Research is required to distinguish the wild from cultivated plants in order to conduct a better assessment of this species.

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.9. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Montane
suitability: Suitable  major importance:Yes

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
5. Biological resource use -> 5.2. Gathering terrestrial plants -> 5.2.1. Intentional use (species is the target)
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.3. Indirect species effects -> 2.3.7. Reduced reproductive success

1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends

♦  Food - human
 Local : ✓  International : ✓ 

♦  Medicine - human & veterinary
 Local : ✓  International : ✓ 

♦  Establishing ex-situ production *

Bibliography [top]

IUCN. 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2012.1). Available at: (Accessed: 19 June 2012).

Lamxay, V. and Newman, M.F. 2012. A revision of Amomum (Zingiberaceae) in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. Edinburgh Journal of Botany 69(1): 99-206. doi:10.1017/S0960428611000436.

Citation: Leong-Skornickova, J., Tran, H.D., Newman, M., Lamxay, V. & Bouamanivong, S. 2012. Amomum tsao-ko. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T202228A2740561. . Downloaded on 07 October 2015.
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