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Alpinia purpurata

Family Name: Zingiberaceae
Common Name: Red Ginger, Lengkuas, Alpinia, Tepus
Full Sun: 6-8h Semi-Shade Lots of Water Occasional Misting Roadside Tree / Palm Fragrant Ornamental Flowers Herbaceous


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Monocotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Herbaceous Plant
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic


Native Distribution South Pacific Islands
Native Habitat Terrestrial
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical, Sub-Tropical / Monsoonal
Local Conservation Status Exotic (Horticultural / Cultivated Only)

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is a herbaceous plants which grows upright up to 4 meters tall, and has leafy, cane-like stems.
Roots Aromatic rhizomes, grow and spread in thick clusters, produce aerial shoots when older shoots dried up. 
Foliage Foliages sessile, alternate arrangement, long sheaths wrap around the stem; leaf blades oblong-shaped, measures 30 - 80 cm long and 10 - 20 cm wide; apex acute.
Flowers A spike inflorescence, 15 - 30 cm long with bracts overlapping, forming cone or funnel shape; bracts ovate to broadly obovate, about 3 cm long; flowers tubular, white, about 0.5 cm, narrow lip. 
Fruits Rarely fruits, seed capsule, subglobose shaped, measures 10 - 15 cm long and 2 - 3 cm in diameter, splits open when ripe. Seeds measures about 0.2 cm long, black, oily. 
Ethnobotanical Uses Medicinal ( The stems are used by Hawaiians for stomachaches. Salt and rhizomes are mashed together for treating headaches.)
Cut - Dried Flower ( Bracts of red gingers are used for lei making.)
[Others]: The leaves produce subtle yellow dye. 

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Flowers, Fragrant
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Moist Soils, Well-Drained Soils, Fertile Loamy Soils
Landscape Uses Roadside Tree / Palm, Parks & Gardens, Hedge / Screening
Thematic Landscaping Fragrant / Aromatherapy Garden
Plant & Rootzone Preference or Tolerance Remarks Wind and salt spray may cause browning, burned tip and discolouration. 

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Semi-Shade, Full Sun
Water Preference Occasional Misting, Lots of Water
Plant Growth Rate Moderate
Planting Remarks This plant can spread quite extensively, therefore use physical barriers (eg: plastic mow strip) surrounding the bed.
Transplanting Tolerance Unknown / Unselect
Maintenance Requirements Moderate
Pruning Remove spent flowering shoots and yellowing foliage. 
Propagation Method Seed, Division, Aerial Plantlet
Propagation Method Remarks Rhizome division


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Alternate
Foliar Attachment to Stem Sessile
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Oblong)
Foliar Margin Entire
Foliar Apex - Tip Acute
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 3.5 (Shrub & Groundcover - Monocot)

Non - Foliar and Storage

Stem Type & Modification Herbaceous

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower Colour(s) Red, White
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Terminal
Individual Flower Shape Tubular
Inflorescence Type Spike

Fruit, Seed & Spore

Fruit Type 1 Dehiscent Dry Fruit
Fruit Type 2 Capsule
Mature Seed Colour(s) Black
Mature Seed Texture(s) Waxy

Image Repository



Master ID 349
Species ID 1645
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 20 April 2020.