Zingiber officinale (ginger) root

Ginger
Source: Forest & Kim Starr

Zingiber officinale or Ginger is a herbaceous perennial belonging to the family Zingiberaceae.

The tuber and leaves are used in cooking and medicine.

Ginger is easily and cheaply available in supermarkets or exotic grocery stores. So it’s a nice plant to experiment with at home.

Description:

Zingiber officinale grow up to 1-2 m high. The root is a thick, yellowish and branched tuber.

The leaves grow on a pseudo-stem which grows from the rhizome and are elongated and fragrant, 20 cm long and 2 cm wide.

The inflorescence appears at the top of a stalk that grows directly from the rootstock. It is a conical green ear from which the green-yellow flowers appear.

Usage:

Ornamental:

This is not exactly the most decorative among the Zingiberaceae but it’s a nice one to experiment with.

Culinary:

The tuber is used to flavor dishes in Asian cooking. It has a lemony and spicy taste. The leaves are also used as seasoning. Ginger is also the main ingredient of ginger ale.

Medicinal:

Ginger is used against nausea and vomiting (post-surgery and morning sickness), treatment of migraine (without side effects), protection of the gastric mucosa, insufficiency of bile and pancreas, lowers cholesterol, triglyceride in the blood, fatty acids and phospholipids, anti- inflammatory activity and more specifically to combat pain and inflammation in inflammatory arthritis. It is also used as an aphrodisiac.

Recipe for tea for cold or sore throat:

Prepare a pot of tea. Take a piece of ginger (about 1 cc per cup), peel it and slice into thin slices that you add to the tea or press small pieces with the garlic press and add the juice to the tea and leave to infuse. Add sugar or honey to taste and drink it … you’ll feel better in no time!

Zingiber officinale inflorescence

Zingiber officinale inflorescence
Source: Ogniw

Nomenclature:

Common names:

Canton, Canton Ginger, Common Ginger, Cooking Ginger, Culinary Ginger, Edible Ginger, Garden Ginger, Ginger, Green Ginger (Fresh Root), Halia, Spice Ginger, Stem Ginger

Synonyms:

Amomum zingiber, Curcuma longifolia, Zingiber aromaticum, Zingiber majus, Zingiber missionis, Zingiber sichuanense, Zingiber zingiber
NB: Zingiber officinalis is not a synonym but a misspelling

Etymology:

Zingiber: from the Greek zingiberis (ginger)
Officinale: from the Latin officinalis (pharmacy)

Origin:

South Asia

Habitat:

Wet places in partial shade in tropics and subtropics



Hardiness:

USDA Zone 8-11, -10 °C
The aerial part dies at 0 °C

Zingiber officinale plant

Zingiber officinale plant

Care:

Soil:

Rich, well drained

Exposure:

Sun, light

Water:

Needs plenty of water in the summer, keep soil moist

Temperature:

Can be grown indoors on the windowsill but prefers to spend the summer outside

Harvest:

After the summer, when leaves turn yellow

Propagation:

Tuber

Can also be propagated by seed but outside of the tropics it will rarely form fruit.

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