Friday, February 29, 2008

Alpinia, Red Ginger, Ostrich Plume (Alpinia purpurata)

Alpinia, Red Ginger, Ostrich Plume or Alpinia Purpurata


Green-Crowned Brilliant Hummingbird Feeding on Ginger Torch © Frans LantingThe Zingiberaceae family includes about 40 genera of tropical gingers native to Indo-Malaysia, Indonesia, eastern Asia and Australia. Zingiber officinale, or commercial ginger, is grown and sold for its aromatic rhizomes, while other genera are grown for cut-flower use. Zingiber is derived from a Sanskrit word meaning "horn-shaped."

alpinia purpurata ginger by Forest & Kim Starr Availability and Vase Life

Year round.
14-21 days.

Care and Handling

Cold sensitive. Do not expose to temperatures below 45 F. If flowers appear wilted, soak the entire stem and bracts in room temperature (70-75 F) water for 1/2 an hour.

Design Uses

Pink ginger hawaiian alpinia, Pink Cone Ginger, © George B. DieboldGinger has a strong vertical line and is often used to add height to arrangements. May need to use wire to secure stems when using foam.

Colors: Bright red, pink.

The red flower of a ginger plant at Somerset Falls, Port Antonio, Jamaica. © Bob Krist
Red Ginger (Alpinia purpurata), also called Ostrich Plume and Pink Cone Ginger, are native Malaysian plants with showy flowers on long brightly colored red bracts. They look like the bloom, but the true flower is the small white flower on top.

Its two varieties are called Jungle King and Jungle Queen. Red Ginger grows in Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and many Central American nations, including Belize.

Red ginger can also be grown in South Florida since, in general, the region does not fall below freezing temperatures. It prefers partial shade and moist humid conditions, although it can tolerate full sun in some climates. It tends to like to be well watered and not left to dry out.

Ginger can also be grown as a houseplant and its cut flowers can be used in arrangements.

Ginger tends to spread.

Red Ginger, Alpinia, Ostrich Plume, Alpinia purpurata© Wolfgang Kaehler

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