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Re: Gingers - geophytes?

Most so-called gingers are in the Alpinia genre. The most notable Zingiber ginger is the edible one, which is a rhizome [looks enough like an iris rhizome to be one]. I think Alpinia grow from rhizomes, as do all the heliconias I'm familiar with. If I remember rightly, my curcumas grow from little round things, but I don't think they're bulbs. Most bulb seem to offset, but curcumas, like caladiums, seem to produce string-of-pearls type offspring--lots of little balls forming along a lateral root.

According to that noted botanic authority Merriam-Webster, anything that buds below ground is a geophyte. If true, it's not a terribly useful descriptor, since it would include all sorts of grasses, from Bermuda to bamboo, and a lot of other weird stuff.

On Tuesday, January 4, 2005, at 12:13 PM, kmrsy@comcast.net wrote:

At the moment I don't have access to all my books, so maybe you can help. Are gingers geophytes?

The family Zingiberaceae, Gingers, include lots of plants that have been
mentioned on this list. I've only grown one Curcuma but I've heard some
of you mention growing Hedychiums and Zingibers among others in the
family. I bought my Curcuma "bulbs" from Odyssey.

In looking through Bryan's huge book on Bulbs (covers all geophytes),
though, there is no mention of Gingers. I looked a little online and so
far the only mention I have found was on Curcuma alismatifolia at Dave's

"[Propagate] By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)"
which is a most stupid comment IMO because this particular plant cannot
be all of those. However, it does indicate to me that, as I suspected
from what I purchased from Odyssey, they are indeed some sort of
geophyte - but which kind? I realize that within any one genus in the
family some species could be rhizoomes, some bulbs, some fibrous roots,
as in the genus, Iris. But so far I have found little info.

I can check other books when I get home and I'll check further on the
internet, but I thought some of you might also be able to give me a


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Island Jim
Southwest Florida
27.0 N, 82.4 W
Zone 10a
Minimum 30 F [-1 C]
Maximum 100 F [38 C]

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