Alpinia caerulea (R.Br.) Benth.
Bentham, G. (1873) Flora Australiensis 6: 265.
Common Ginger; Ginger, Common; Ginger, Native; Native Ginger
Usually flowers and fruits as a shrubby plant about 1-2 m tall, occasionally taller, but it should be noted that only the leaves are above ground level. The true stem is below the soil surface.
Inflorescence terminal, usually shortly pubescent. Bracts narrowly lanceolate, 15-20 mm long each subtending a group of 4-6 flowers. Bracteoles about 5-15 mm long, pedicels 10-20 mm long. Calyx about 10 mm long. Corolla tube about 12 mm long, lobes about 5-8 mm long. Labellum orbicular, shortly clawed, shortly bilobed, about 10 mm diam. Anther about 2-3 mm long, crest entire, about 1-2 mm long, filament about 2-3 mm long, wider than the anther. Ovary up to 6 mm long, usually pubescent, style about 11 mm long.
One cataphyll produced before the first true leaf. First true leaf glabrous, cordate or ovate, about 15-20 mm long, petiole as long as or longer than the leaf blade. Second leaf narrower. At the tenth leaf stage: leaves 2- ranked, leaf blade linear-lanceolate, about 15-16 x 3.5-4 cm, petiolate, apex acuminate, base obtuse, glabrous. Lateral veins closely spaced, parallel and departing from the midrib at a low angel, about 10 degrees. Sheathing leaf base glabrous, ligule bilobed, mainly glabrous except for the upper margin. Terminal bud rolled resembling the stipule of a fig or the terminal bud of Geijera. Seed germination time 30 to 232 days.
Food plant for the larval stages of the Banded Demon Butterfly. Common & Waterhouse (1981).
Fruit eaten by Cassowaries. Cooper & Cooper (1994).
A widespread species commonly cultivated in gardens. The large upright stems with basal leaves can be a feature. White flowers are followed by blue fruits.