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Alpinia purpurata cv. ‘Tahitian Ginger’

Red ginger, jungle queen, jungle king, opuhi uteute, gengibre rojo, Tahitian ginger, ostrich plume, jungle

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassLiliopsidaMonocots (plants with a single seed leaf); includes the lily family
SubclassZingiberidaeGingers and related plants
OrderZingiberalesGinger, cardamom, turmeric, galangal, myoga, bananas, arrowroot, and others
FamilyZingiberaceaeGinger family
GenusAlpiniaShell gingers
SpeciespurpurataMade purple
Cultivar‘Tahitian Ginger’

About plant names...

Red ginger, or Alpinia purpurata, is native to the South Pacific: New Caledonia, New Hebrides, Yap, British Solomon Islands Protectorate, Bismarck Archipelago, and Bougainville. It was introduced to Hawai‘i in the 1930s and is now naturalized there. It is not found elsewhere in the wild in North America.

Identification: Plants are 3-15' (91-457 cm) tall and 24-48" (60-121 cm) around, on cane-like stems with large leaves. Leaves are deep green, 12-32" (30-81 cm) long and 4-9" (10-22 cm) wide, wrapped directly around the stem, with a pointed tip. Each stem produces a single flower 6-12" (15-30 cm) long. Actually, the brilliant red flower spike isn't a flower—it is a set of modified leaves ("bracts"). The flowers are small and white, nearly unnoticed. The 'Tahitian Ginger' cultivar has a different flower shape. Instead of a cone with relative large bracts, it is a more rounded shape with smaller bracts.

Online References:


The University of Hawai‘i’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources at Mānoa (Ornamental ginger)

Forest and Kim Starr’s Starr Environmental site (Alpinia purpurata)


Alpinia purpurata cv. ‘Tahitian Ginger’ description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 25 May 2020.

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Alpinia purpurata (red ginger, jungle queen, jungle king, opuhi uteute, gengibre rojo, Tahitian ginger, ostrich plume, jungle)

3/15/2001 · Hawaii Botanical Gardens, Hawaii ID is uncertain