This is the Yellow Butterfly Ginger as opposed to Ginger Lilies or White Butterfly Ginger. I can’t recall exactly where this came from. I had some Ginger Lilies a very old lady gave me in Atlanta, but I was afraid of importing those to South Florida for fear of being overrun. So, I left the Ginger Lilies in my garden in Atlanta, I think the new owner built a pizza oven over top of them. This particular lady who gifted me the Ginger Lilies identified the plant by the fact that the root looked like an old shoe.
Back to Florida, this very fragrant plant started to bloom last week and to me it smells like a really intense Honeysuckle. Very pleasant. I had to search a bit to figure out what Ginger this is exactly. I finally decided it was Hedychium flavum based on the identifying feature of hairy leaves and yellow flowers. The flowers start out white with yellow centers, then the whole flower turns creamy yellow by the end of the day. I hadn’t realized the leaves were hairy until now.
The plant is about 4-5 feet tall and lives in the shade of a good sized Banyan Tree. Almost everything I have read about these says they require a moist site. I live on a gigantic sand dune so there is no really moist area here, this is the closest thing we have to moist and it is working fine so far. The Ginger has been in the garden for about a year and has probably doubled in size and was evergreen through the winter. The foliage is kind of grassy and makes a nice backdrop for Bromeliads or Ferns. The roots look like reddish culinary ginger, but I have not had the occasion to eat any – they do not remind me of old shoes at all.
Culinary Ginger is a Zingiber as opposed to a Hedychium. This can be grown from roots bought from the grocery store. I have tried this and ended up with a plant about 18″ tall and enough ginger for my husband to use in a Pumpkin Pie. While I am a devoted herb grower, I find buying ginger at the grocery store is best.