Hedychium coronarium – White Ginger

Hedychium coronarium - White Ginger, White Garland-lily, Butterfly Ginger (flower)

Hedychium coronarium - White Ginger, White Garland-lily, Butterfly Ginger (flowers)

Plant Name

Scientific Name: Hedychium coronarium

Common Names: White Ginger, White Garland-lily, Butterfly Ginger

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial

Growth Habit: Herb/Forb

Hawaii Native Status: Introduced. This naturalized ornamental garden plant is native to eastern India.

Flower Color: White

Flowering Season: Midsummer to late autumn

Height: To over 6 feet (1.8 m) tall

Description: The butterfly-like flowers emerge from between green bracts on the club-shaped inflorescences. The flowers have 3 slender, linear, pale yellowish or greenish sepals and 3 spoon-shaped, white petals. There is pale yellow at the base of the top, largest petal. Each flower lasts only one day. The seeds are bright red. The pseudostems (formed by the leaf sheaths) emerge from underground rhizomes. The leaf blades are green, sessile or subsessile, and oblong-lanceolate to lanceolate in shape.

Here in Hawaii, White Ginger is an invasive weed in pastures and forests, and it is especially common along roadsides.

The similar Yellow Ginger (Hedychium flavescens) has yellow or cream-colored flowers with darker yellow-orange at the base of the top petal.

Special Characteristics

Edible – The young flowers and flower buds are edible.

Fragrant – The flowers have a lovely, intense fragrance that perfumes the air. When cut, the flowers soon wilt and die, but they can still be used if you cut them immediately before a party or other special event.


Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Liliopsida – Monocotyledons
Subclass: Zingiberidae
Order: Zingiberales
Family: Zingiberaceae – Ginger family
Genus: Hedychium J. Koenig – garland-lily
Species: Hedychium coronarium J. Koenig – white garland-lily

More About This Plant

Hawaii County Distribution Map