Tapeinochilos ananassae (Hassk.) K.Schum.
Schumann, K.M. (1899) Botanische Jahrbucher 27 : 349.
Torch Ginger; Ginger, Torch; Backscratcher Ginger; Devil's Pineapple; Ginger, Backscratcher
Essentially herbaceous with an underground rhizome but leafy shoots at times attaining a height of 2-4 m, usually curled to some extent at the apex of the branches.
Leaves variable in size but commonly about 15 x 5 cm. Lateral veins diverge from the midrib at a very low angle and run parallel to one another. Petiole forms a glabrous, longitudinally veined sheath about 2-4 cm long, completely enclosing the stem. Petiolar sheath with a truncate ligule (about 0.2-0.3 cm long) at the apex.
Inflorescence usually terminating leafless shoots, cone-like, about 7-20 cm long, consisting mainly of stiff bright red bracts which are recurved towards the apex. Flowers barely exceed the bracts. Calyx lobes unequal, two large + one small. Back of the anther clothed in short, appressed, straight hairs. Stigma expanded, +/- 2-lobed, many times wider than the style.
Infructescence stalked, +/- cone-like, about 15-20 cm long consisting mainly of large bracts about 4.5 x 3.2 cm, bracts red but eventually turning brown. Each fruitlet about 30-35 mm long with three lobes at the apex. Each lobe about 7-8 x 6-8 mm. Seeds seated on a fleshy white mass. Aril translucent. Embryo +/- cylindrical.
Cotyledon or first leaf almost orbicular, about 1.2-1.6 mm diam., seed coat remaining attached at the apex. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade elliptic or oblanceolate, emerging rolled, lateral veins diverge from the midrib at a very low angle and run parallel to one another. Reticulate veins form ladders with the lateral veins. Petiole forms a glabrous, longitudinally veined sheath completely enclosing the stem. Petiolar sheath hairy with a truncate ligule at the apex. Seed germination time 13 to 142 days.