Alpinia zerumbet
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Clade: Commelinids
Order: Zingiberales
Family: Zingiberaceae
Subfamily: Alpinioideae
Tribe: Alpinieae
Genus: Alpinia
Roxb., 1810

See text

20 synonyms

Alpinia is a genus of flowering plants in the ginger family, Zingiberaceae. Species are native to Asia, Australia, and the Pacific Islands, where they occur in tropical and subtropical climates.[2] Several species are cultivated as ornamental plants.[3]


The genus was erected by the Scottish botanist William Roxburgh in 1810, and published in the journal Asiatic Researches[4] It is named after Prospero Alpini, a 17th-century Italian botanist who specialized in exotic plants.[5] Species of the genus are known generally as shell gingers.[3][6]


These herbs lack true stems, but have pseudostems usually up to about 3 metres (9.8 ft) long which are composed of the overlapping leaf sheaths.[2][3] A few species have been known to reach 8 metres (26 ft).[7] They grow from thick rhizomes. The leaves are lance-shaped to oblong. The inflorescence takes the form of a spike, a panicle, or a raceme. It may be hooded in bracts and bracteoles. The flower has a shallowly toothed calyx which is sometimes split on one side. The flower corolla is a cylindrical tube with three lobes at the mouth, the middle lobe larger and hoodlike in some taxa. There is one fertile stamen and two staminodes, which are often joined into a petal-like labellum, a structure that is inconspicuous in some species and quite showy in others. The fruit is a rounded, dry or fleshy capsule.[2][3] The plants are generally aromatic due to their essential oils.[8]


This is the largest genus in the ginger family,[7] with 248 species and 2 hybrids accepted by Plants of the World Online as of 27 June 2024.[1] A number of those are commonly grown for their flowers, including red ginger, and others are used as spices, including Galangal.

Accepted species

Accepted hybrids


The genus Alpinia is native to the countries (and regions) of; Andaman Islands, Assam, Bangladesh, Bismarck Archipelago, Bonin Islands, Borneo, Cambodia, Caroline Islands, southern China, East Himalaya, Fiji, Hainan, India, Japan, Java, Laos, Lesser Sunda Islands, Malaya, Maluku Islands, Myanmar, Nepal, New Caledonia, New Guinea, New South Wales, Nicobar Islands, Philippines, Queensland, Ryukyu Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Sulawesi, Sumatra, Taiwan, Thailand, Tibet, Vanuatu, Vietnam and Volcano Islands.[1]


Most Alpinia are plants of forest understory habitat. Most are pollinated by large bees, but some are pollinated by birds and bats.[7]


According to a research team of National Chung Hsing University, Alpinia was found to have anti-inflammatory, hypolipidemic, anti-tumor and other effects.[9]


See also


  1. ^ a b c "Alpinia Roxb". Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. 2024. Retrieved 27 June 2024.
  2. ^ a b c Alpinia. Flora of China.
  3. ^ a b c d Alpinia. Flora of North America.
  4. ^ Roxburgh, William (1810). "Descriptions of several of the Monandrous Plants of India, belonging to the natural order called Scitamineae by Linnaeus, Cannae by Jussieu, and Drimyrhizae by Ventenat". Asiatic Researches. 11: 350. Retrieved 4 March 2024.
  5. ^ Simonetti, G. (1990). Stanley Schuler (ed.). Simon & Schuster's Guide to Herbs and Spices. Simon & Schuster, Inc. ISBN 0-671-73489-X.
  6. ^ Alpinia. Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS).
  7. ^ a b c Kress, W. J., et al. (2005). "The molecular phylogeny of Alpinia (Zingiberaceae): a complex and polyphyletic genus of gingers". American Journal of Botany 92(1), 167-78.
  8. ^ Victório, C. P. (2011). "Therapeutic value of the genus Alpinia, Zingiberaceae". Revista Brasileira de Farmacognosia 21(1), 194-201.
  9. ^ 曾彥學、邱輝龍、吳佾鴻 (2017). 曾彥學 (ed.). 惠蓀饗宴 植栽食藥用植物圖鑑. 國立中興大學農業暨自然資源學院實驗林管理處. ISBN 978-986-04-7966-9.