Beehive Ginger facts and health benefits

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Beehive Ginger facts and health benefits

Beehive Ginger Quick Facts
Name: Beehive Ginger
Scientific Name: Zingiber spectabile
Origin Peninsular Malaysia and Peninsular Thailand.
Shapes An ellipsoid capsule, 3 cm by 1 cm long and sparsely pilose.
More facts about Beehive Ginger
Zingiber spectabile commonly known as Beehive Ginger is a clumping herbaceous plant native to Peninsular Malaysia and Peninsular Thailand. The scientific name of the species, Zingiber spectabile, comes from two words. “Zingiber” is originally from a Sanskrit word that means “shaped like a horn” and refers to the horn-shaped leaves of most species of ginger. “Spectabile” is derived from the Latin spectabilis, meaning ‘visible’ or ‘spectacular’. Apart from beehive ginger it is also known as Black Gingerwort, Champagne Beehive, Malaysian Ginger, Nodding Ginger and Ginger wort. It is primarily grown in the West as an ornamental plant, although it has been used in South-East Asia as a medicinal herb. All parts of the plant have a strong gingery fragrance.


Beehive Ginger is a clumping herbaceous plant growing up to 4.5 meters (15 ft.), or even more. Beehive Gingers develop a strong rhizome from which new shoots emerge. The rhizome gets bigger annually. Plant grows well in warm and wet tropical rainforest, occurring along trails, streams and edges of forests up to 1000 m elevation.  It thrives in full shade to partial shade. It prefers moist, humus-rich, well-drained fertile soil. Stems can be up to 3 meters tall. Leafy pseudo stems are 2–3.5 m high, and basal leafless stem is up to 1 m high. Leaf sheath is sparsely pilose with scarious margin, and ligule is deeply bi lobed and is broad and pale green in color. Leaf lamina is lanceolate and is 30–50 cm by 6–10 cm long and glabrous or slightly hairy at the base.

The plant’s inflorescence is cylindrical spike, beehive like, 10–30 cm by 6–7 cm long with rounded apex borne by a radical erect scape, which is 20–40 cm long. Bracts are obovate, turning red from yellow through orange, fleshy and curved outwards with edge incurved forming pouches; As the inflorescence ages and if it enjoys sunlight, the color changes to orange and then red. Bracteole is linear and 40 mm long; calyx is up to 35 mm long and cream to pinkish in color; corolla is 70 mm long and yellow in color; dorsal lobes are lager then lateral lobes; labellum is 40–60 mm long and dark purple with yellow spots; mid-lobe is shorter than lateral corolla lobes; apex is cleft; stylode is slender and free to base, not surrounding the style; stigma is not dilated, round, white in color and fringed with hairs; filament is absent; and anther is yellow, anther appendage is purple and 1.5 cm long. Flowering normally takes place from July through November.


Fruit is an ellipsoid capsule, 3 cm by 1 cm long and sparsely pilose. Seeds are up to six in each loculus, are black when ripe, are ellipsoid, are 6 mm long and covered 2/3 from base by a white aril with fimbriate or lobed edge.


The plant is considered to have originated from Peninsular Malaysia and Peninsular Thailand. From there plant is grown worldwide because of their wonderful appearance and health promoting benefits.


How to Eat

  • Leaves and rhizomes are occasionally used for flavoring.
  • Leaves and rhizomes are used to flavor food.
  • Its young rhizomes are sliced, soaked in vinegar and used as an appetizer.
  • Young tender shoots are eaten as ulam, fresh as salad.

Traditional Uses and benefits of Beehive Ginger

  • This species is widely used in Malay traditional medicine.
  • Pounded leaves have been used for poulticing swellings and a cold leaf infusion used to wash infected eyelids.
  • spectabile is used in the treatment of various ailments and in the preparation of traditional medicine.
  • Rhizomes are used as a germicide, stimulant and tonic and in the treatments of cancer, cough and asthma.
  • The Temuan native in Peninsular Malaysia used the juice from the leaves to treat eye ailment and swelling.
  • It has also been recorded being used to treat burns, as a treatment for headaches and back pain, and as an agent for food preservation.

Other Facts

  • The plant is cultivated as an ornamental, and its large, unique and attractive inflorescences are esteemed as popular cut flowers.





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