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Family: Zingiberaceae (ginger family)

Life > eukaryotes > Archaeoplastida > Chloroplastida > Charophyta > Streptophytina > Plantae (land plants) > Tracheophyta (vascular plants) > Euphyllophyta > Lignophyta (woody plants) > Spermatophyta (seed plants) > Angiospermae (flowering plants) > Monocotyledons > Order: Zingiberales

About 52 genera and 1200 species worldwide, with two genera and six species native to southern Africa and two genera and four species that are naturalised. An additional five genera and 12 species are cultivated in the region.

Genera native to southern Africa

Information from Archer (2000).

Aframomum

About 50 species, native to tropical Africa, with two species native to southern Africa (Zimbabwe and Mozambique)

Siphonochilus

About 20 species, all African, with four species native to southern Africa.

 

Genera naturalised in southern Africa

Information from Archer (2000).

Alpinia

About 200 species, most of which are native to southeast Asia. Alpinia zerumbet (Shell ginger) has become naturalised in southern Africa. An additional two species (Alpinia nutans and Alpinia purpurata) are cultivated in southern Africa. The genus also includes Alpinia galanga (Galangal), which is native to tropical Asia and cultivated in that region for its rhizomes, which are used in cooking in the same way as ginger.

 

Hedychium (ginger lilies)

About 45 species, all native to Asia. There are three species that are cultivated and which have become naturalised in southern Africa. An additional species is cultivated but not naturalised. All four species are declared Category 1 invasive plants in South Africa.

 

Other genera, cultivated in southern Africa

List from Glen (2002).

Curcuma

Curcuma longa (Turmeric, Indian saffron, Borrie) probably originates from India and is cultivated in southern Africa. The rhizomes are ground up and used as a spice. Curcuma petiolata and Curcuma zedoaria have also been cultivated in southern Africa.

 

Globba

Globba atrosanguinea from Borneo, and Globba winitii from Thailand, are cultivated in southern Africa.

 

Nicolaia

Nicolaia elatior is native to Malaysia and is cultivated in southern Africa.

 

Roscoea

Roscoea purpurea from the Himalayas, is cultivated in southern Africa.

 

Zingiber (ginger genus)

Zingiber officinale (Ginger) from Asia and Zingiber zerumbet from India are cultivated in southern Africa.

Publications

  • Archer, C. 2000. Zingiberaceae. In: Seed Plants of Southern Africa (ed. O.A. Leistner). Strelitzia 10: 739-740. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.

  • Glen, H.F. 2002. Cultivated Plants of Southern Africa. Jacana, Johannesburg.

 

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