1.3- Description These herbs lack true stems, but have pseudostems usually up to about 3 meters long which are composed of the overlapping leaf sheaths. A few species have been known to reach 8 meters. They grow from thick rhizomes. The leaves are lance-shaped to oblong. The inflorescence takes the form of a spike, a panicle, or a raceme. It may be hooded in bracts and bracteoles. The flower has a shallowly toothed calyx which is sometimes split on one side. The flower corolla is a cylindrical tube with three lobes at the mouth, the middle lobe larger and hoodlike in some taxa. There is one fertile stamen and twostaminodes, which are often joined into a petal-like labellum, a structure that is inconspicuous in some species and quite showy in others. The fruit is a rounded, dry or fleshy capsule. The plants are generally aromatic due to their essential oils. Source: Alpinia - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
2- The Most Important Species of the Genus Alpinia
2.1- Species Alpinia caerulea- Australian native ginger + Overview Alpinia caerulea, Australiannative ginger, is an understorey perennialherb to 3 m., growing under rainforest, gallery forest and wet sclerophyllforest canopy in eastern Australia. Leaves are up to 40 cm long and 3-10 cm wide. The inflorescence is 10-30 cm long. The blue capsule is globose 1 cm across, with a brittle outer covering containing black seed and white pulp. + Uses The white pulp of native ginger has a sour flavour, used to activate salivary glands to moisten the mouth when bushwalking, with the seeds usually being discarded. The capsules can also be used as a flavouring spice, using the whole fruit and seed dried and ground. They can also be used to impart a sour flavour and red color in herbal teas. The centers of new shoots have mild gingery flavour, and are excellent in various dishes as a ginger substitute. The roots can also be used in cooking, and have a more earthy resinous flavour.
2.2- Species Alpinia conchigera - Lesser alpinia + Overview A rhizomatous herb with slender leafy stem. Leaves with lamina oblong-lanceolate, up to 40 cm long and 3-10 cm wide, glabrous, apex acuminate; shortly petiolate or sessile; ligule usually 10-15 mm long, entire, or slightly emarginate. Inflorescence 10-30 cm long, glabrous; pedicels 10-20 mm long. Outer tepals c. 10 mm long; inner tepal tube c. 12-14 mm long, lobes 5-8 mm long, yellow; labellum circular, shortly clawed, shortly 2-lobed, c. 10 mm diam. Lateral staminodes c. 1 mm long, filament 2-3 mm long. Ovary to 6 mm long, usually pubescent, 3-locular. Capsule globose, c. 10 mm diam. with a brittle blue outer covering. + Uses Root extract is taken for the treatment of dysentery; paste of roots of Alpinia conchigera and Carex continua is taken for abdominal pain. - Inner portion of aerial parts is cooked as vegetables. - Root extract is taken for spleenomegaly and leaf extract is taken for the treatment of gastric ulcer. - Rhizomes with 13 other plants are used to make pills to be taken thrice daily before food for the treatment of abdominal tumours.
2.3- Species Alpinia galanga - Greater galangal + Overview Alpinia galanga, (also Languas galanga), a plant in the ginger family, is an herb used in cooking, especially in Indonesian and Thai cuisines. It is one of four plants known as galangal, and is differentiated from the others with the common name greater galangal (or simply Thai galangal). The galangals are also called blue ginger or Thai ginger. Alpinia galanga is called laos in Indonesian and is the most common form of galangal used in cooking. It is also known as lengkuas and galanga root. In Myanmar, it is called pa de kaw. + Description The plant grows from rhizomes in clumps of stiff stalks up to 2 m in height with abundant long leaves which bear red fruit. It is native to South Asia and Indonesia. It is cultivated in Malaysia, Laos, and Thailand. A. galanga is the galangal used most often in cookery. The robust rhizome has a sharp, sweet taste and smells like a blend of black pepper and pine needles. The red fruit is used in traditional Chinese medicine and has a flavor similar to cardamom. + Culinary uses The rhizome is a common ingredient in Thai curries and soups, where it is used fresh in chunks or cut into thin slices, mashed and mixed into curry paste. Indonesian rendang is usually spiced with galangal. + Traditional medicine Under the names 'chewing John', 'little John to chew', and 'court case root', it is used in African Americanfolk medicine and hoodoofolk magic. Ayurveda considers A. galanga (Sanskrit:-rasna) as a Vata Shamana drug. Known as perarathai in Tamil, this form of ginger is used with licorice root, called in Tamil athi-mathuram (Glycyrrhiza glabra) as folk medicine for colds and sore throats.
2.4- Species Alpinia malaccensis - Rathkihiriya + Overview Alpinia malaccensis is a plant in the Zingiberaceae family cultivated for ornamental and medicinal purposes. It is a native of Indonesia and Malaysia. An oil is obtained from dried rhizome. It has many medicinal properties. Synonyms Buekia malaccensis (Burm.f.) Raeusch. Catimbium malaccense (Burm.f.) Holttum Costus malaccensis Koenig Languas malaccensis (Burm.f.) Merr. Maranta malaccensis Burm.f. + Description Alpinia malaccensis is from Indonesia and Malaysia. It grows to over 4 meters tall. Its slow to spread sideways. This beautiful tropical plant is becoming a popular tropical house plant as well as a landscape plant in warmer climates. It will become a very beautiful, elegant plant. Those are very rare seeds. In November and December the flowers emerge above the leaves enclosed in a conical sheath which splits to reveal a sumptuous cluster of fat pink and white buds. Arranged like a Christmas tree, the lowest ones open first to reveal a yellow, mouth-like interior, vividly veined in bright red. The leaves are olive green, subtly striped with lime green lines, silky hairy beneath, reaching almost 1 meter long. Hardiness zones 8-11, (5ºC/40ºF, -10ºC/15ºF) in Winter. It won't flower if it gets frost. The plant will die back with freezing temperatures. In cold climates, rhizomes can be dug up and stored indoors for the Winter in vermiculite. As a houseplant, it must have bright light and humid conditions. They do well in any good garden soil that is rich in organic matter, and regular feeding with a balanced fertilizer will keep this plant healthy. This plant usually has few pest problems but the leaves will brown on the edges if the soil is not kept moist or if touched by frost. Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings. Part shade is ideal for this plant, it appreciates some afternoon shade in hot Summer climates.
2.5- Species Alpinia nutans - Dwarf cardamom, ginger lily, shell ginger + Overview Alpinia nutans (Shellflower, Dwarf cardamom) is a Southeast Asian plant of the ginger family (Zingiberaceae), and is a medicinal plant used to control hypertension, as diuretic, antifungal, and antiulcer. In Japan it is used as food preservative. Synonyms Alpinia speciosa K.Schum. Amomum compactum Roem. & Schult. Catimbium nutans Juss. Costus zerumbet Pers. Languas speciosa Small Renealmia nutans Andrews Zerumbet speciosum H.Wendl + Characteristics Its flowers have a porcelain look, are shell-like and bloom prolifically on a 30-cm stalk. The flower's single fertile stamen has a massive anther. The globose white stigma of the pistil extends beyond the tip of the anther. The foliage of Alpinia nutans is evergreen in areas that do not have a hard freeze. It has a very distinctive cardamom fragrance when brushed or rubbed, but this is not the plant that produces the spice by that name. + Medicinal uses Alpinia nutans is used in traditional medicine as diuretic, antihypertensive, antifungal, and antiulcer. The plant extract was experimentally shown to induce dose-dependent decrease in blood pressure in rats and dogs. However, it was found to have no effect on diuresis. Two new glucoside esters of ferulic acid isolated from the rhizome have higher antioxidant activity than Trolox. Its chemical compound dihydro-5,6-dehydrokawain has an inhibitory effect on lipid peroxide, and has an activity similar to that of beta-carotene.
2.6- Species Alpinia officinarum - Lesser galangal, Chinese ginger + Overview Alpinia officinarum, known as lesser galangal, is a plant in the ginger family, cultivated in Southeast Asia. It originated in China, where its name ultimately derives. It can grow several feet high, with long leaves and reddish-white flowers. The rhizomes, known as galangal, are valued for their spicy flavor and aromatic scent. These are used throughout Asia in curries and perfumes, and were previously used widely in Europe. They are also used as an herbal remedy. Lesser galangal is often misled the name for Kaempferia galanga that is used in Indonesia, Malaysia and other Southeast Asian countries. Synonyms Languas officinarum (Hance) P.H.Hô. + Description This herbaceous plant can grow up to ten feet in height, though three to five feet is more common. The leaves are lanceolate (long and thin), and the flowers are white with streaks of red, growing from a spike at the top. The plant's rhizomes, the part known as galangal, are thin and tough, and they are the principal reason the plant is cultivated. They have orange flesh with a brown coating, and have an aromatic odor and a pungent flavor. These are smaller than greater galangal. + Uses The galangal rhizomes were widely used in ancient and medieval Europe, where they were reputed to smell of roses and taste of spice. Its use in Europe has dramatically declined, however, and is now mainly used in Eastern Europe. It is used in Russia for flavoring vinegar and the liqueur Nastoika. It is still used as a spice and medicine in Lithuania and Estonia. In Asia the rhizomes are ground to powder for use in curries, drinks, and jellies. In India an extract is used in perfumes, and Tatars prepare a tea with it. Alpinia officinarum contains high concentrations of the flavonolgalangin, which has been shown to slow the increase and growth of breast tumor cells. Historically, the rhizomes were reputed to have stimulant and digestive effects.
2.7- Species Alpinia purpurata - Red ginger + Overview Alpinia purpurata, red ginger, 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. + Characteristics It has cultivars called Jungle King and Jungle Queen. Red Ginger grows in Hawaii, Trinidad, Grenada, St. Lucia, Dominica, St. Vincent, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Puerto Rico, Suriname (where its Dutch name is 'bokkepoot', billy-goat's foot), and many Central American nations, including Belize. It is also found in Samoa, where it is the national flower, and is locally called "teuila." 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. Red Ginger can also be grown as a houseplant and its cut flowers can be used in arrangements.
2.8- Species Alpinia speciosa - Shellflower, shellplant + Overview Shell-flower (Alpinia speciosa) is in the ginger family and is native tropical China, Japan, India, Indo-China, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, and Malaysia. It is widely cultivated and distributed in most tropical and semi-tropical areas including Brazil, Peru, the Amazon, and the U. S. (Florida, Hawaii, Puerto Rico). Synonyms: 1- Alpinia nutans 2- Costus zerumbet 3- Catimbium speciosum 4- Languas speciosa 5- Zerumbet speciosum + Characteristics This plant is an evergreen tropical perennial that grows in upright clumps to 8-10' tall in tropical climates. It produces fleshy rhizomes much like ginger that have a ginger-like aroma. Shell-flower was first botanically referred to as Alpinia speciosa but has been standardized Alpinia zerumbet. This beautiful tropical plant is becoming a popular tropical house plant as well as a landscape plant in warmer climates. Various cultivars can now be found for sale in U.S. nurseries and plant stores under the common name "variegated ginger." Shell-flower is commonly called shell ginger or shellflower because its individual shell pink flowers, particularly when in bud, resemble sea shells. It is distinguished from other members of the ginger family by the fact that its flowers droop from the ends of leafy stems rather than rise directly from plant rhizomes. The fragrant flowers are waxy; light pink flower buds open to tubular flowers with yellow inside lips and red throats. The plant produces lance-shaped green leaves to 2' long and 5" wide.
2.9- Species Alpinia zerumbet - Shell ginger + Overview Alpinia zerumbet, commonly known as shell ginger, is a perennialspecies of ginger native to East Asia. They can grow up to 8 to 10 ft (2.4 to 3.0 m) tall and bear colorful funnel-shaped flowers. They are grown as ornamentals and their leaves are used in cuisine and traditional medicine. They are also sometimes known as the pink porcelain lily, variegated ginger or butterfly ginger. + Characteristics Native to eastern Asia, this plant is a rhizomatous, evergreen tropical perennial that grows in upright clumps 8 to 10 ft (2.4 to 3.0 m) tall in tropical climates. It bears funnel-formed flowers. Flowers have white or pink perianths with yellow labella with red spots and stripes. There are three stamens, but only one has pollen. There is one pistil. The fruit is globose with many striations. In more typical conditions, it reaches 4 to 8 ft (1.2 to 2.4 m) feet tall in the green house, and 3 to 4 ft (0.91 to 1.22 m) feet tall, as a house plant. + Uses The plant's long leaf blades are still used for wrapping zongzi. In Okinawa, Japan, Alpinia zerumbet is known in the local dialect as sannin, or in Japanese as getto. Its leaves are sold as herbal tea and are also used to flavour noodles and wrap mochi rice cakes. Its tea has hypotensive, diuretic and antiulcerogenic properties. Decoction of leaves has been used during bathing to alleviate fevers. The leaves and rhizomes have been proven effective against HIV-1 integrase and neuraminidase enzymes, and has also shown anti-diabetic effect through inhibitions of formation of advanced glycation end products. Besides, the antioxidant activities of different parts of Alpinia zerumbet has already been reported.