1) General Information:
a) Scientific name: Zingiber officinale
b) Region of Origin: This plant originated in India, was distributed eastward through Polynesia and introduced to the Hawaiian Islands in the canoes of early settlers.
c) Type: Beautiful & Useful
d) General History: Native to the vast area between the Himalayas southward to Sri Lanka and eastward through the Malaysian-Indonesian archipelago, the plants have naturalized eastward throughout Polynesia, distributed by migrating peoples. The gingers, called ‘awapuhi in Hawaiian, are part of the Zingiberaceae (ginger) family which has over 1,300 species growing in the tropics of the Old World. Along the rainy, windward side of all the islands, the wild ginger (Zingiber zerumbet) grows in warm, moist, shaded nooks along the roadsides.
2) Plant Uses & Harvesting:
a) As Food: `Awapuhi pake Zingiber officinale is widely cultivated and eaten, or made into a tea for indigestion as well as increased circulation of the blood and an increased sense of well-being. The juice can be used to quench thirst when out walking in the forest and makes a lovely lunch when combined with a few mountain apples.
b) As Medicine: The plant has been used to treat a toothache, or a cavity by pressing the cooked and softened `awapuhi root into the hollow and left for as long as was needed. To ease a stomachache or indigestion, the ground and strained root material is mixed with water and drank.
c) Other Uses: Perhaps the most common use of `awapuhi is a shampoo and conditioner for the hair. The clear slimy and sudsy juice present in the mature flower heads is excellent for softening and brings shine to the hair. The gel from the flowers is also used as a massage lubricant.
3) Growing Conditions at Hedonisia
a) Growing: Likes shaded warm spots
b) Sunlight Requirements: Full Shade, Partial Shade, Full Sunlight.
c) Propagation: Cutting, Division, Grafting, Seed, Separating. It is best propagated in autumn by planting a piece of rootstock with buds, in a shallow trench of broken and composted soil.
Location on property: Garden E