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Alpinia zerumbet (Pers.) B.L.Burtt & R.M.Sm.

Family Name: Zingiberaceae
Synonyms: Alpinia nutans, Alpinia speciosa, Alpinia cristata, Alpinia fimbriata, Alpinia fluvitialis, Alpinia schumanniana, Amomum nutans, Catimbium speciosum, Languas schumanniana, Languas speciosa, Renealmia nutans, Renealmia spectabilis
Common Name: Lempoyang, Shell Ginger, Pink Porcelain Ginger
Full Sun: 6-8h Semi-Shade Lots of Water Occasional Misting Roadside Tree / Palm Fragrant Ornamental Flowers Woody Herbaceous


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

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Monocotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Shrub (Herbaceous)
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic


Native Distribution China & Japan
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical
Local Conservation Status 1 Exotic (Horticultural / Cultivated Only)

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is a rhizomatous, herbaceous perennial, grows in upright clumps,with a maximum height of  2 - 3 m. 
Foliage Green, leaf blade lanceolate, measures 0.5 m long and 15 cm across, margin entire, venation pinnate; arranged spirally along the stem.
Flowers Raceme, its fragrant individual pink flowers resemble sea shells when in bud stage. Flower buds are light pink and waxy which open to tubular flowers with yellow lips and red throats. 
Fruits Rounded shape, brown in colour.
Taxonomy It can be distinguished from the other members of ginger family from its flowers that droop from leaf stems (terminal) instead of rising from plant rhizomes (axillary). 
Etymology The genus Alpinia honours Prosper Alpino, an Italian botanist who introduced coffee and bananas to Europe. 
Ethnobotanical Uses Medicinal ( The leaves are used in Asia, believed to relieve fever and malaria. It is also believed to be diuretic and antihypertensive in South America. )
[Others]: In Japan, the leaves are used to wrap rice dumplings and sometimes used as tea.

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Flowers, Fragrant (Flowers)
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Moist Soils, Well-Drained Soils, Fertile Loamy Soils
Landscape Uses Roadside Tree / Palm, Parks & Gardens, Small Gardens, Flowerbed / Border, Container Planting

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Semi-Shade, Full Sun
Water Preference Occasional Misting, Lots of Water
Propagation Method Division
Propagation Method Remarks Rhizome division.


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Smooth
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Spiral
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Lanceolate)
Foliar Margin Entire
Foliar Apex - Tip Acuminate
Foliar Base Attenuate
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) White, Pink
Flower Texture(s) Smooth
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Terminal
Individual Flower Shape Tubular
Inflorescence Type Raceme

Image Repository



Master ID 354
Species ID 1650
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.