Monday, 26 January 2009


I chanced upon this today whilst taking my dogs out for their usual walk. As with quite a lot of the labels around the ginger gardens, the label for this plant just read "Hornstedtia" without naming the species. I carried out some preliminary research on the internet but I could not determine what species of Hornstedtia this is. Most of the ones featured appear to be either Hornstedtia scyphifera or leonurus. This on the other hand, has yellowish cream coloured flowers.

Hornstedtias belong to the Zingiberaceae family. They are not as well known as the etlingeras or the zingibers of this world, but they hold their own and are known to be one of the tallest gingers in the world, some of which can reach a height of about 7m or more. Hornstedtias have two rather distinctive features; the inflorescence and stout rhizomes are either wholly just above ground level or raised about 50cm or more above the ground supported by vigorous red stilt roots (see photo below). The lateral, spindel-shaped inflorescences are surrounded by densely imbricate involucal bracts often characteristically reticulate or ribbed. The flowers are usually red with a narrow protruding lip, emerging usually from the top of the cone-like inflorescence.

There are allegedly about 60 species of Hornstedtia, most of which can be found in South East Asia.

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