Shell Ginger
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Shell Ginger
ative elliptic Photo: Thingnam Girija
Common name: Shell Ginger, Light galangal, Pink porcelain lily • Manipuri: ꯄꯨꯜꯂꯩ Pullei • Bengali: Punnag champa
Botanical name: Alpinia zerumbet    Family: Zingiberaceae (Ginger family)

Native to India, Shell ginger is a tall and dramatic landscape or container plant. The leaves are about 2 ft long and 6 in across and strikingly variegated with irregular stripes of green and yellow in some varieties. The habit is upright and does not require staking as do some other members of the ginger family. The flowers are white, tipped in pink, and borne in long pendant arches. In some varieties, there is no pink in the tip. The individual flowers are reminiscent of small seashells, which accounts for the common name "shell ginger".Typically, shell ginger grows to about 6 ft, but it can grow up to 12 ft high.
Medicinal uses: In Manipur, fresh rhizome is applied to ringworms and other skin diseases. Rhizomes are stimulant, carminative; used in rheumatism and bronchial catarrh.

Identification credit: R.K. Nimai Singh, Thangjam Hindustani, Priyanka Gupta Photographed in Imphal, Manipur & Maharashtra.

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