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Wild Ginger Zingiber zerumbet

Previously known as:

  • Amomum zerumbet
Phonetic Spelling
zing-ee-ber ZER-um-bet
This plant is an invasive species in North Carolina
Description

Wild Ginger is a clumping perennial that has reed-like stems and is native to tropical Asia. Liking a moist environment, it can be found growing in the wild near rivers, waterfalls and other water sources.   It is commonly grown as a houseplant or it does well in a container that can be brought indoors over the winter as it is not very frost tolerant.  Completely dormant in winter, it needs to be kept dry while dormant.  When growing in the ground in northern climates, remove from the soil and store in a paper bag and keep dry.  Adding potting soil or sawdust to the paper bag will insure no moisture will be present.  

Near the end of its growing season, the flowers emerge from the ground.  Starting out as a lime green cone shape.  Small blossoms emerge from between the green flower bracts.  After flowering, the bracts become a showy shade of red.  If harvesting for use as a shampoo, this is the time that a slippery liquid is exuded from the flowers.  This liquid has a soapy feeling and a ginger scent.

The trunk of this plant is formed by tightly packed overlapping leaf sheaths.  These fleshy pseudostems contain mostly water, but are sturdy.

Its leaves are used as a food wrap that will help keep fish moist while adding the flavor of ginger to the food.  

The oils from the rhizome is used in making perfumed soaps and other toilet articles. Ground into a powder, the dried rhizome is used as a perfume.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  Typically free from diseases and pests.  Occasionally, whitefly and cardamom root grub can cause problems.  Spreading by rhizomes, this plant can become invasive.

 

 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#showy flowers#invasive#houseplant#perennial#fragrant leaves#cut flowers#showy leaves#tropical perennial#rhizomes#herbaceous perennial#rhizomatous#cutting garden#poor soils tolerant#humidity tolerant#tropical feel#container plants
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#showy flowers#invasive#houseplant#perennial#fragrant leaves#cut flowers#showy leaves#tropical perennial#rhizomes#herbaceous perennial#rhizomatous#cutting garden#poor soils tolerant#humidity tolerant#tropical feel#container plants
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Zingiber
    Species:
    zerumbet
    Family:
    Zingiberaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Rhizome is used in tradional Asian cultures for food and medicine.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Tropical Asia
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Colorful
    Fragrance
    Shade
    Edibility:
    The rhizome can be used as a food flavoring. The leaves and shoots are cooked and eaten as a vegetable. Young flower spikes (without the bracts) can be eaten raw or cooked.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 4 ft. 0 in. - 6 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 3 ft. 0 in. - 5 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Houseplant
    Perennial
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Arching
    Clumping
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    3 feet-6 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    8b, 8a, 9b, 9a, 10b, 10a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    White
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    The white fruits is smooth and thin-walled. The seeds produced are black ellipsoids.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Cream/Tan
    Green
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Head
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Good Cut
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Flower Petals:
    2-3 rays/petals
    Flower Size:
    3-6 inches
    Flower Description:
    Cone-shaped inflorescence makes a great addition in flower arrangements.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Fragrant
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Sheath
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The leaves grow from a rhizome or underground stem. They have a central raised midrib on the upper surface and prominent midrib on the underside.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Cross Section:
    Round
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Stem Description:
    Reed-like erect stems.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Houseplants
    Patio
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Asian Garden
    Cutting Garden
    Edible Garden
    Rain Garden
    Shade Garden
    Water Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Specimen
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Heat
    Heavy Shade
    Humidity
    Poor Soil
    Wet Soil
    Problems:
    Invasive Species