Boesenbergia rotunda root

Boesenbergia rotunda root
Source: FotoosVanRobin

Boesenbergia rotunda or Fingerroot is an herb related to ginger and turmeric.

The yellow root has the shape of long fingers, hence the name. It tastes like ginger but is less sharp.

This is not a hardy plant but it grows very easily and quickly as a houseplant or in a warm greenhouse.


Boesenbergia rotunda is an herb of up to 50 cm high.

The rhizome is bright yellow and strongly aromatic. It looks like fingers that grow from a central point.

It usually has 3-4 green leaves of up to 50 cm long and 12 cm wide. These are undivided and ovate-oblong.

The flowers are tubular, pink and fragrant. They appear in a terminal inflorescence, on top of a flower stalk that appears out of the soil next to the leaves.



Fingerroot is used in southeast Asian cuisine as seasoning and as a vegetable, fresh or cooked. The young leaves are also cooked as a vegetable.

The root tastes somewhat like ginger but is less spicy.


In traditional medicine, the roots are used for a variety of ailments ranging from upset stomach and digestion to cough or rheumatism.


The plant is also grown for its ornamental value.

Boesenbergia rotunda plant

Boesenbergia rotunda plant
Source: Pescov


Common names:

Rotund Boesenbergia, Chinese ginger, Chinese keys, Fingerroot, Krachai, Resurrection Lily, Tropical Crocus


Boesenbergia pandurata, Curcuma rotunda, Gastrochilus rotundus, Kaempferia pandurata


Boesenbergia: given by the German botanist Otto Kuntze in honor of his sister and brother in law, Clara and Walter Boesenberg
Rotunda: from the Latin rotundus (round, circular)


From the south of the Yunnan province in China to West Malaysia


As undergrowth in dense forests, in shady and damp places


USDA zone 9-11, 0 °C.
Can be planted in the garden. In colder zones before the first frost, dig the root out and keep it in a paper bag in a cool, dry place.

The plant can also be grown as a houseplant or in a warm greenhouse.

Boesenbergia rotunda flower

Boesenbergia rotunda flower
Source: Alex Lomas


Life cycle:

The plant grows during the monsoon season, for about 5 months. In the dry season it loses its leaves and roots can be harvested.


Well-drained clay soil, humus-rich soil or even sandy soil


Shade, partial shade. The plant does not tolerate direct sunlight, the leaves will then curl.


Keep soil constantly moist but not wet during the growing season. In winter the soil should dry out because this is the rest period.


Fertilize only during the growing season, not in the winter. Universal liquid fertilizer every 2-3 weeks or solid fertilizer 2 twice a year.


By division of the root. Plant root cuttings 5-10 cm deep and keep the soil moist.