Pine Cone Ginger~~ More than Just a Pretty Face in Your Yard
Around and about
Cones are beginning to appear....the first ones this year
Pretty little cone, early stages July 2016
Baby cone July 2016
Tall and Healthy...Transplanted in the Spring...Beautiful Cones Should Come Along in a Few Months
This unusual plant will keep you fascinated and will provide a cascade of brilliant colors at it grows. The pine cone ginger has been tucked up in my backyard and I did not know her secret. Until a few short days ago, I have only witnessed the leaves rustling in the evening breeze as i strolled around the property where I reside. I have seen the cones before in state parks I have walked through but as long as I have lived in Florida I have never had them growing in my yard.
It is so exciting to me. A week or so ago I was in my back yard. I spied a cone-thingy growing on a sturdy stem under the canopy of trees and luxurious leafy plants surrounding them. The first day or two all that I could see was a tightly closed cone very much like a pine cone but it was the green you can find only in nature, that cannot be replicated by all of the efforts of man or womankind. The closest I can come to describing the color is lime sherbet with a generous serving of cream stirred in to give it a light, tantalizing shade.
Watching the change
Watching the cones become a daily ritual. After about three days, a perky yellow bloom emerged. Then a day or two later, a second bloom. A few days after that a very tighly wound leave stalk emerged standing tall. A few days later the leafy stalk turned into a leaf or two.
As luck would have it, I had not located the name of this plant but I had photographed it in case I would ever have the opportunity to share this story. A few days ago, my friend emailed me and said, 'I am clearing some pine cone ginger from around my home. Would you like some?' Since I will always take plants, I of course jumped at the chance to receive them.
When she delivered them, I was excited to find that they were the plants I had been watching spring forth and develop in my backyard. I planted them by my fence today. As I planted them, I found some are turning red. As soon as I got them planted, I ran to the back to see mine. They are also beginning to turn red. What an exciting day it has been. The reddish looking ones in the pictures are the ones I have photographed as green ones that have now changed color.
Pinecone ginger is sometimes known by the name shampoo ginger, bitter gnger, wild ginger.
It is of the famly: Zingiberaceae
Facts about the pinecone ginger
- They are mainly tropical plants which grow well in zone 8 but are also said to grow in zones 9-11.( I would investigate before trying to grow them in colder zones.)
- They grow from four feet to seven feet in height.
- They form 'pinecones' which bloom and then produce leaves.
- The cones can be a pale green and then turn to a red hue.
- They make lush, tropical growth for enhancing your landscape.
- They will overtake the area however so it is wise to keep an eye on them and thin out as needed. Share with neighbors.
Elxir for Cleansing Hair from the Red Cone
Washing Hair with Liquid from Pine Cone Ginger
This morning I gently squeezed the liquid from a cone. I emptied it on my hair, rubbed it around as if using shampoo, and then rinsed. It can be left on your hair if desired. My hair feels as clean as if I had used shampoo. Perhaps it is even a bit cleaner as I did not need to worry about any residue being left behind on my hair.
Watching them emerge
In the beginning ...the tightly closed cone is all that I was allowed to see.
After a day or two...two fragile looking pale yellow blossoms appeared
Several days later.....a tightly closed leaf emerged, stanidng tall and straight
A week or so later......a tightly closed leaf emerged standing closely to a now reddish pine cone ginger.
After weeks, an abundance of leaves that seem to be designed to wave in the breeze and cool the land will emerge.
Some leaves add a splash of color as they are variegated.
Lush abundant leaves that rustle in the evening remind us of the need to luxuriate in the calm of nature.
More than beauty
We can see that these will be a welcome addition to landscape that can accommodate it. It will take over if not monitored because it grows well and spreads easily on its own.
As the banner reads at the beginning, this is not just a pretty face. It is also known for other reasons. In Hawaii, for example, it is found in the Awapuhi family of plants and is the main ingredient in Awapuhi shampoo. It is used in shampoos and conditioners in other areas around the world as well.
One source stated that the ginger root of this plant can be eaten but that it is bitter. It is not the one commonly used for ginger that we use in our cooking. I would suggest researching this thoroughly as I only read that in one source that I came across. The leaves were used by some to wrap meat in which would season it.
Another known use for the pine cone ginger is for healing purposes. In some locations the roots are harvested, kept cool, and used for healing. Other uses for this plant are given at the following link.
Information regarding the Hawaii connection to this plant that undergoes a metamorphosis that is sure to intrigue you will be found at ehow. That was my source for the little tidbit about Hawaii.
Perhaps you will wish to give these a home in your yard. They are easy to grow and care for. Provide some sun some shade for a home, well draining not overly rich loam for a home. Trim them back some after all of the growth has stopped for the year. They will come back new and fresh the nest spring my friend tells me. I have not experienced that yet so I have that to look forward to next spring.
Brilliant greens and reds
© 2012 Patricia Scott