Ginger, Yellow (Zingiber officinale)
Pungent, spicy ginger is an herbaceous perennial in the ginger family (Zingiberaceae) native to tropical and subtropical Asia. It is one of the earliest traded spices from Asia to India, then on to the Middle East and Europe.
The knobby, underground rhizomes, fresh or powdered, are used as an integral part of Asian cuisine in meat, fish, vegetarian dishes, and desserts. In the West, it adds a zing to herbal teas, candies, baked goods like gingersnaps and gingerbread, and beverages like ginger ale and ginger wine. The young shoots and leaves are also edible and can be used as a fresh condiment, garnish, or as a vegetable. In folk medicine, it is used to treat nausea and vomiting.
Ginger plants grow in 3-foot-high spreading clumps and have a reedy appearance with long, narrow leaf blades in two ranks along the length of the stems. In the fall, cone-shaped spikes of pink and white buds open into yellow-green flowers with purple lips that are often sterile, especially when container-grown, and don’t produce seeds.
Ginger can be planted as a perennial in warm climates, in containers, or as an annual in cooler climates. It will grow in full sun or partial shade in rich, organic, well-draining soil. It is hardy in USDA zones 8 to 11.