Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Zingiber zerumbet (L.) Sm.

Herb (herbaceous or woody, under 1 m tall)
Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
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Inflorescence and flower. © CSIRO
Habit, leaves and infructescence. © CSIRO
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO

Smith, J.E. (1806) Exotic Botany 2 : 105.

Common name

Ginger, Zerumbet; Martinique Ginger; Zerumbet Ginger; Ginger, Martinique


Usually flowers and fruits as a shrubby plant about 1-2 m tall but it should be noted that only the leaves are above ground level. The true stem is below the soil surface.


Leaf blades sessile or shortly petiolate (petioles about 0.4-0.5 cm) lanceolate, about 14-40 x 3-8 cm, glabrous on the upper surface but pubescent on the lower surface at least when young, ligule about 1-3 cm long, pubescent when young, apex obtuse.


Inflorescence produced from the base of the plant. Inflorescence about 7 cm long, on a peduncle about 20-50 cm long. Bracts red, about 1.5-4 x 1.2-4 cm. Flowers smell like ginger (Zingiber officinale). Calyx about 13-17 mm long. Corolla tube about 20-30 mm long, lobes variable in size and shape, largest one about 15-25 x 10-20 mm. Labellum ovate or orbicular, about 12-20 x 15-20 mm. Anther about 8-10 mm long, crest or connective about 7 mm. Two gland-like stylodes (about 5 mm long) present on top of the ovary.


Fruits produced in a reddish cone about 12-13 x 4 cm. Capsules enclosed in the persistent inflorescence bracts, capsules about 12 x 8 mm. Seeds about 4-5 x 2.5 mm. Aril translucent, fimbriate at the apex. Embryo about 3.5 mm long, one end globular.


Features not available.

Distribution and Ecology

An introduced species originally from Java, now naturalised in CYP with specimens collected from Bamaga and Badu Island. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 100 m. Grows in disturbed areas in rain forest and on abandoned agricultural land.

Natural History & Notes

This species may have medicinal properties.

This species is in cultivation in SE Asia for the edible ginger.

Amomum zerumbet L., Species Plantarum : 1(1753), Type: India, holo: ?. Zingiber truncatum Stokes, Bot. mat. med. 1: 68(1812). Zingiber aromaticum Valeton, Bull. Jard. Bot. Buitenzorg 27: 131(1918), Type: K. Heyne 38; Holo: L. Zingiber amaricans Blume, Enum. pl. Javae : 43(1827), Type: C.L. Blume, s.n.; Holo: L. Amomum silvestre Poir., Encycl. suppl. 5: 548(1817). Amomum spurium (J. Konig( J.F. Gmel., Syst. nat. 1: 6(1791). Zingiber zerumbet f. australiana F.M.Bailey, Queensland Agricultural Journal 15: 782(1905), Type: The plants now (Dec., 1904) flowering in my sons garden at Toowong are from roots which I dug up at Polo Creek, Somerset, in June 1897. Cardamomum spurium (J. Konig) Kuntze, Revis gen pl. 2: 687(1891).
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