Amomum villosum Lour. (Zingiberaceae) is an obligate shade plant. Its leaves naturally roll up upon exposure to bright sun. This paper characterizes the effects of its leaf rolling and light on photoinhibition of photosynthesis and thermal dissipation activity under field conditions with sufficient soil moisture. Between the plants from bright and shaded parts of a canopy gap, both maximum photosynthetic rate (mean ≈ 6.5 μmol m-2 s-1) and stomatal conductance (148 vs. 131 mmol m-2 s-1) were not significantly different, but apparent quantum yield (0.021 vs. 0.025) and dark respiration rate (0.49 vs. 0.30 μmol m-2 s-1) were. In the foggy morning, when the incident irradiance was low, photoinhibition had already occurred in plants in the bright part of the canopy gap and also in plants in the shaded part of the gap but to a much lesser degree. Photoinhibition accelerated with increase of incident irradiance and relaxed in the afternoon. Thermal dissipation as indicated by non-photochemical fluorescence quenching (NPQ) increased rapidly in the morning and continued at a high rate in the afternoon. Prevention of leaf rolling resulted in acceleration of photoinhibition. Artificial inhibition of the xanthophyll cycle led to acceleration of both photoinhibition and inactivation of PSII reaction centres, and decrease of NPQ. Photoinhibited leaves in either control or treatment plants recovered overnight. These results show that A. villosum is able effectively to prevent photodamage through the mechanisms of leaf rolling, thermal dissipation and reversible inactivation of PSII reaction centres.