Native ginger: Alpinia caerulea ‘Red Back’

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This is native ginger, Alpinia caerulea ‘Red Back’, planted in an internal courtyard, doesn’t it look beautiful? It had been recently cleaned out and cut back as it was a bit too happy. It has naturally arching canes that form a vase like habit and can get a little burnt and ratty if left unaltered.

I think this  is a striking plant as it is used here planted on mass as the upper layer of foliage in an internal courtyard. This cultivar has a showy red underside to each leaf which gives it the cultivar name ‘Red Back’. Growing to 2mts in height it is a great screen with its upright leaves showing off that red underside.

The fruit of this plant was eaten by First Nations people, it has a hot peppery taste. The root tips can be eaten and have a distinctive ginger flavor, the plant will need to be dug up to get to the rhizome. The rhizome can be used as you would use any ginger in cooking savory dishes, jams and tea.

Alpinia caerulea ‘Red Back’

Alpinia caerulea is usually found in the under story of rain forests, if you have a shady spot that you would like to fill this would be a good choice.

Flowering from spring to summer, the white flowers are fragrant and bird attracting.


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