During the rainy season, one of the most attractive plant in my garden is the Beehive Ginger (Zingiber spectabile). I got it as a present from my plant buddy, Mrs. Tolero when she came back from a trip to Los Banos, Manila way back in 2004. Presently, the stems of the Beehive Ginger are about six to eight feet tall, and the torch-like inflorescence growing from the base of the plants vary in height (see the photo above).
I’ve noticed that these plants starts to bloom in June due to rain and moist grounds. The blooms are on the scale-like parts or bracts.The bracts of the young inflorescence start out as pale yellow in color but as the flower matures, the bracts becomes reddish in color especially if fully exposed to sunlight. The inflorescence would last about four months in the garden, and about 15 days as cut flowers. This species is propagated by division, stem cuttings and seeds. Moreover, all parts of the plant have a strong gingery fragrance.
My Pink Cone Ginger (Alpinia purpurata) flourish well near my gate for this plant likes partial shade and moist area condition. The small white flower is at the top of the pink bracts.
Aside from the Beehive Ginger, Mrs. Tolero also gave me a specimen of the Smithatris supraneeana in 2004. I just learned its name recently through the post of Padmini Kohirkar dated 24 October 2007 at theflowerexpert website. Here’s the link: http://www.theflowerexpert.com/flower-blog/default/2007/10/?entries=-1
I’ve also read an article about it by the Smitsonian National Museum of Natural History, the Discovery of a New Plant Genus, 2002 http://www.mnh.si.edu/highlight/newginger/index.html
Anyway, the bracts of Smithartis are white with a bluish tinge and its flowers are lavender. Its shoots grow from the base of the plant and have 3 to 4 broad dark green are leaves per shoot. They are often used in local ceremonies during the Buddhist Lent in Southeast Asia. Also, the plant is easy to care. I’ve potted my Smithartis and put it in a shaded where it could get the morning sunlight.