80. Amomum cardamomum, Linn.—The Cluster or Round Cardamom.
Sex, Syst. Monandria, Monogynia.
(The old latin name for this plant should be Amomum cardamomum Willd. (now Amomum compactum Sol. ex Maton.). The latin name given here (Amomum cardamomum L.) is the old name for true cardamon, Elettaria cardamomum (L.) Maton. -Henriette)
History.—The fruit of this plant is the άμωμον of Dioscorides, [Lib. i. cap. xiv.] the Amomi uva of Pliny. [Hist. Nat. lib. xii. cap. xxviii, ed. Valp.]
Botany. Gen. Char.—Inner limb of the corolla one-lipped. Filament dilated beyond the anther, with an entire or lobed crest. Capsule often berried, 3-celled, 3-valved. Seeds numerous, arillate.—Herbaceous perennials, with articulated creeping rhizomes. Leaves in 2 rows, membranous, with their sheaths split. Inflorescence spiked, loosely imbricated, radical (Blume). [Op. cit.]
Sp. Char.—Leaves with short petioles, lanceolate. Spikes half immersed in the earth, loosely imbricated with villous, lanceolate, acute, 1-flowered bracts. Lip, with the interior margin, 3-lobed. Crest 3-lobed (Roxburgh).
Hab.—Sumatra, Java, and other islands eastward to the Bay of Bengal.
Description.—The fruit of this plant is the round cardamom (cardamomum rotundum) of the shops. It varies in size from that of a black currant to that of a cherry. It is roundish or roundish-ovate, with three convex rounded sides or lobes, more or less striated longitudinally, yellowish or brownish-white, sometimes with a red tint, and when examined by a pocket lens shows the remains of hairs, the greater part of which have probably been rubbed off. The seeds are brown, angular, cuneiform, shrivelled, with an aromatic, camphoraceous flavour. The fruits in their native clusters or spikes (constituting the Amomum racemosum) are rarely met with; a fine sample is in the Sloanian collection of the British Museum.
Composition.—It has not been analyzed. Its constituents are probably analogous to those of the Malabar cardamom (Elettaria Cardamomum).
Effects and Uses.—Similar to those of the Malabar cardamom. Round cardamoms are rarely employed in this country. They are officinal in the French Codex, and are principally consumed in the southern parts of Europe. The seeds are directed to be used by the Dublin Pharmacopoeia, but I presume those of the Elettaria Cardamomum are intended.