yellow ginger

Hedychium flavescens

Rhizomes are internally pale and fragrant . Rhizomes grow vertical stems, grow up to 10cm long and form rhisome beds of up to a metre thick (Mather, Environment B.O.P).

Common names 
Also known as: wild ginger, yellow ginger, yellow ginger lily,
Flowering time 
Year Round
South America
State declaration 
Category 1
Council declaration 
Class E - Early detection and eradication
Known distribution 

A widely distributed species that has mainly become naturalised in the eastern parts of the country. It is most common in the coastal and sub-coastal regions of south-eastern Queensland and New South Wales. Also present in other parts of Queensland and recorded in Victoria.naturalised in south-eastern, central and northern Queensland - naturalised in many parts of eastern NSW (particularly in coastal districts)


Yellow ginger occurs in rainforests, moist forests, along roadsides, in open habitats and along streamsides (PIER, 2002). In India it is found at altitudes of between 1200 metres and 2000 metres (KobaKoba 2001).


Coarse perennial herbs with leafy shoots 1.5-2m tall

Impact and control methods 

Wild Ginger forms dense impenetrable stands, particularly in moist areas such as riparian zones and wetlands outcompeteing native vegetation.

Stem and leaves 

Leaves are oblong to lanceolate, 20-45 (-60)cm long, 5-10 (-12.5)cm wide, upper surface glabrous, lower surface sparsely pubescent, apex acuminate, sessile, ligules membranous, (1-) 2-4cm long, entire, pubescent, sheaths glabrous.Grows from large branching rhizomes (tuberous shoots) of up to 3.5cm in diameter.

Flowers and fruits 

Flowers fragrant, inflorescences erect, basically ovoid, 15-20cm long, ca. 8cm wide, primary bracts green, membranous along margins, loosely imbricate, broadly ovate to elliptic, 5-8cm long, ca. 3.5cm wide, apex usually obtuse, pubescent to glabrate, rachis permanently concealed, cincinni usually 4-flowered, calyx cylindrical, 4-5cm long, pubescent or rarely glabrate; corolla yellow, the tube slender, 8-9cm long, the lobes linear to linear-lanceolate, 4-5cm long; labellum often centrally flushed with dark yellow, broadly obovate, about as long as staminodes, (2.5-) 3-4cm wide, the base tapered into a claw; stamen yellow, about as long as labellum or slightly longer; lateral staminodes white, spatulate to lanceolate.

Reproduction and dispersal 

This species reproduces by seed and also vegetatively via its creeping underground stems (i.e. rhizomes).

The seeds are readily dispersed by birds and other animals that are attracted to their bright colours. Seeds and segments of its creeping underground stems (i.e. rhizomes) may also be dispersed by water and in dumped garden waste.

Similar species 

Yellow ginger (Hedychium flavescens) is similar to white ginger (Hedychium coronarium), Kahili ginger (Hedychium gardnerianum) and red ginger (Hedychium coccineum). Only some of these species are currently known to be naturalised, but all are relatively common in cultivation. Hybrids between these species are also produced, and may exhibit intermediate characteristics. However, these species can be distinguished by the following differences: Kahili ginger (Hedychium gardnerianum) has yellow flowers with bright red stamens. The flowers are arranged in a large elongated cluster 15-45 cm long white ginger (Hedychium coronarium) has white flowers with white stamens. The flowers are arranged in relatively short cluster 7-20 cm long yellow ginger (Hedychium flavescens) has pale yellow flowers with yellow stamens. The flowers are arranged in relatively short cluster 15-20 cm long red ginger (Hedychium coccineum) has reddish, salmon or pink flowers with stamens that are the same colour as the petals. The flowers are arranged in a large elongated cluster usually more than 25 cm long. Kahili ginger (Hedychium gardnerianum) is also similar to the cannas (Canna spp.) and native ginger (Alpinia caerulea). The cannas (Canna spp.) can be distinguished by their roughly textured capsules and hard black seeds, while native ginger (Alpinia caerulea) can be distinguished by its much smaller whitish flowers and bright blue rounded fruit.

Replacement species 
Strelitzia reginae