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January 2012
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Alpinia officinarum also known as lesser galangal, kencur is a plant in the ginger family.

Image of Alpinia officinarum plant at Google

Alpinia officinarum which is also known as lesser galangal, Kencur, Sand ginger, Aromatic Ginger or Resurrection Lily is a plant in the ginger family. It is a native of china and occurs mainly on the southeast coast.

India is the second largest exporter of this rhizome. This rhizome is small and is used in ancient and medieval Europe. Its skin is reddish brown and preferred than the greater Galangal as it is sweeter and stronger. The taste is somewhat similar to cinnamon. It is used to flavor vinegar and Nastoika liquor.

It is a spice and medicine both mainly in Lithuania and Estonia. It is also used in tea in Central Asia. This Alpinia can grow up to a height of two to four feet. It slows the increase and growth of breast tumor cells.

This is not an edible ginger. The flowers grow on long racemes. Alpinias are used as cut flowers and used in flower arrangements. The flowers are popular in Hawaiian tropical flower arrangements. The leaves have a tropical look and the foliage is also used in flower arrangements. The new plant grows in midst of old flowers. Alpinias are pollinated by bees.

Alpinias are used as Stimulant and carminative, f in flatulence, dyspepsia, vomiting and sickness at stomach, sea sickness, and fever and also as a cattle medicine.

They are used in culinary to flavour curries, soup, meat and fish. It is also used in perfumery.

Growing/Caring conditions of Alpinia officinarum:
– Plant the Alpinia in spring after the danger of frost is passed.
– The plants should be 30cm apart and plant spacing between should be 15-23 cm.
– The plant can be propagated with small rhizome buds, tubers, corms or bulbs.
– The rhizomes are tender when young that is when the skin is brown rather than white.
– Do not harvest the whole clump but only one or two buds.
– This plant needs hard, clayey and dense soil.
– The plant needs indirect light or filtered sun.
– Water the plant everyday.
– Keep the soil moist.
– The minimum temperature for ideal growth is about 68 F.
– The hardiness zone that the plant needs is 9.
– A balanced water soluble fertilizer after flowering is preferred for this plant.
– No serious insect or disease affects the plant.
– Rich, fertile, organic soil is preferred for good growth of plant.
– Avoid sogginess of soil but maintain the moistness of the soil.
– Pruning can be done to avoid over sizing of plant.

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