Thursday, September 27, 2007

Fiery Red Ginger - Alpinia purpurata

Of the ornamental gingers, the most popular among Malaysian gardeners and landscapers seems to be the fiery red ginger or Alpinia purpurata. Holtum once described this species as a ' herb like wild ginger can be truly an immortal'. This plant originated from the Pacific islands and the Moluccas.

I prefer to use this plant in the kambatik garden for 'semi-wild' areas or at fringe zones, which are partly shaded areas. In natural conditions it grows well on sandy rich soil.

Its beauty lies in its very long lasting showy red 'flowers'. Actually its real flowers are small white and are held together on a spike of red bracts (false flowers) sometimes one foot long, thus giving its distinguishing red appeal.

It has good commercial value in that it is being sold as cut flowers. Propagation is by simple division of the plantlets or fleshy rhizomes.

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