Hedychium gardnerianum

Common Name(s)

Wild Ginger, Kahili Ginger


Hedychium gardnerianum Ker Gawl.



Flora Category

Vascular - Exotic

NVS Species Code


The National Vegetation Survey (NVS) Databank is a physical archive and electronic databank containing records of over 94,000 vegetation survey plots - including data from over 19,000 permanent plots. NVS maintains a standard set of species code abbreviations that correspond to standard scientific plant names from the Ngä Tipu o Aotearoa - New Zealand Plants database.

Structural Class

Monocotyledonous Herbs


Terrestrial. Forests, regenerating forest, streamside and alluvial forest, forest light gaps and gullies. Prefers moderate to high fertility, not found in very dry or rocky areas.


Non-woody perennial to 2 m tall, ginger-scented. Rhizomes massive, taro-like, close to ground surface, long, shallow rooted, much-branched, growing over each other, forming deep beds. Rhizome segments 4 x 10 cm, each producing an aerial stem usually annually. Stems to 2 m, erect, soft, unbranched, thickening to short pinkish collar at base. Leaves alternate, 20-45 x 10-15 cm, shiny, slightly hanging. Flowerhead 25-45 cm tall with many flowers, Jan-Mar. Flowers lemon-yellow with conspicuous red stamens, fragrant. Fruiting spike with fleshy orange fruits, 15-20 mm long, containing many bright scarlet seeds.

Similar Taxa

Similar to H. flavescens (yellow ginger), Zingiber spectabile (cullinary ginger) and Canna spp. but the leaves of H. gardnerianum are much broader than other gingers, and the tall flower heads of H. gardnerianum make it distinctive from Canna spp.


January, February, March

Flower Colours

Red / Pink,Yellow

Year Naturalised



India Himalayan region

Reason For Introduction

Life Cycle Comments
Perennial. The flower is hermaphrodite (Timmins & MacKenzie 1995).

In addition to regenerating from seed, it reproduces vegetatively from short stout rhizomes.

Up to 100 seeds are produced per flowerhead.

Seed is dispersed by birds, in particular tuis and blackbirds (Landcare Research 4/93). Rhizome fragments and seed are also spread by humans and water and soil disturbance.

Tolerant of frost and moderate shade (Seedlings require semi-shade) and slightly tolerant of drought, requires medium to high soil fertility. Flourishes on damp silt. Physical damage results in multiplication of rhizome pieces.

This page last updated on 18 Feb 2010