Amomum tsao-ko


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

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.
China (Yunnan); Lao People's Democratic Republic; Viet Nam
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.
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Grows in evergreen montane forest.
Systems: Terrestrial

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.

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. Version 2014.3. <>. Downloaded on 01 April 2015.
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