Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Alpinia modesta F.Muell. ex K.Schum.

Herb (herbaceous or woody, under 1 m tall)
Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
Click/tap on images to enlarge
Flower. © Barry Jago
Leaves and Flowers. © CSIRO
Leaves and fruit. © CSIRO
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, hypogeal germination. © CSIRO

Schumann, K.M. (1904) Engler's Das Pflanzenreich Heft 20 : 318. Type: Queensland, Rockingham Bay, 15 Oct. 1867, J. Dallachy s.n.; syn: MEL.

Common name

Narrow-leaf Ginger; Ginger, Narrow-leaf


Usually flowers and fruits as a shrubby plant about 1 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.


Leaf blades sessile, about 10-30 x 1.5-5 cm, glabrous, ligule about 0.1-0.2 cm long, apex truncate and ciliate.


Inflorescence glabrous, up to 7 cm long. Bracts triangular, about 5 mm long, margins ciliate, each subtending a group of about 2-4 flowers. Bracteoles ciliate, about 4-5 mm long, pedicels to 2 mm long. Calyx about 3-4 mm long. Corolla tube about 5 mm long, lobes about 5 mm long. Labellum almost orbicular, shortly clawed, about 10 mm diam. Anther about 2-3 mm long without a crest, filament about 2 mm long but wider than the anther. Ovary up to 4 mm long, glabrous or sparsely pubescent.


Capsules glabrous, globular, tardily dehiscent, about 9-15 mm diam. Seeds numerous, aril translucent. Funicle white. Testa slightly rugose. Embryo small, about 2 mm long, endosperm marked by radial lines.


First true leaf cordate or ovate, about 15-18 mm long, petiole shorter than the leaf blade. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade linear or linear-lanceolate, about 11-12 x 1-1.5 cm. sessile, glabrous. Sheathing leaf base mainly glabrous except for the ciliate margin, ligule glabrous but margin ciliate, apex truncate. Seed germination time 49 to 108 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Endemic to NEQ. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 1000 m. Grows as an understory shrub in undisturbed lowland, upland and mountain rain forests. Probably more common on red soils derived from basalt.

Natural History & Notes

A very good small ginger both as a potted plant indoors or in a shaded moist position in the garden.

Alpinia modesta F.M.Bailey, Queensland Agricultural Journal 23(5): 261(1909), Type: Queensland, Rockingham Bay, J.Dallachy.
RFK Code
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