All posts by T. Beth Kinsey

Alpinia purpurata – Red Ginger

Alpinia purpurata - Red Ginger (red flower)

Alpinia purpurata - Red Ginger (pink flower)

Alpinia purpurata - Red Ginger

Alpinia purpurata - Red Ginger (seed)

Plant Name

Scientific Name: Alpinia purpurata

Common Name: Red Ginger

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial, Evergreen

Growth Habit: Herb/Forb

Hawaii Native Status: Introduced. This naturalized ornamental garden plant is native to parts of Melanesia.

Flower Color: White. The much more conspicuous floral bracts are red, pink, or white.

Height: To 15 feet (5 m) tall, but usually much less.

Description: The small, inconspicuous, tubular, white flowers emerge from between colorful floral bracts on terminal flower spikes. Young plantlets emerge from the base of the old inflorescences and can take root if they touch the ground. The flowers are occasionally followed by rounded seed capsules. The leaves are green, alternate, sessile, and oblong in shape. The pseudostems (formed by the leaf sheaths) emerge from underground rhizomes.

Here in Hawaii, Red Ginger is usually found growing at the edge of lowland forests, trails and roads. The flowers make beautiful, long-lasting cut flowers and are popular for tropical flower arrangements.

Classification

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: Alpinia Roxb. – alpinia
Species: Alpinia purpurata (Vieill.) K. Schum. – red ginger

More About This Plant

Hawaii County Distribution Map

Thunbergia grandiflora – Bengal Trumpet

Thunbergia grandiflora - Bengal Trumpet, Bengal Clock Vine, Blue Trumpet Vine, Large-flowered Thunbergia (blue flower)

Thunbergia grandiflora - Bengal Trumpet, Bengal Clock Vine, Blue Trumpet Vine, Large-flowered Thunbergia (white flower)

Thunbergia grandiflora - Bengal Trumpet, Bengal Clock Vine, Blue Trumpet Vine, Large-flowered Thunbergia (leaf)

Plant Name

Scientific Name: Thunbergia grandiflora

Common Names: Bengal Trumpet, Bengal Clock Vine, Blue Trumpet Vine, Large-flowered Thunbergia

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial, Evergreen

Growth Habit: Vine

Hawaii Native Status: Introduced. Native to Asia (India and China).

Flower Color: Violet-blue, White

Height: Climbing to 20 feet (6 m) or more

Description: The broadly tubular flowers are 3 inches (8 cm) long with 5 ruffled lobes and a yellow throat. The leaves are green, heart-shaped, and variably angled or lobed with large, pointed lobes.

Here in Hawaii, this naturalized ornamental garden plant is a rampant weed that can cover and smother trees and shrubs.

The similar Laurel Clockvine (Thunbergia laurifolia) has narrower, rarely lobed, non-angular leaves.

Classification

Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass: Asteridae
Order: Scrophulariales
Family: Acanthaceae – Acanthus family
Genus: Thunbergia Retz. – thunbergia
Species: Thunbergia grandiflora Roxb. – Bengal trumpet

More About This Plant

Hawaii County Distribution Map

Cecropia obtusifolia – Trumpet Tree

Cecropia obtusifolia - Trumpet Tree, Guarumo

Cecropia obtusifolia - Trumpet Tree, Guarumo

Cecropia obtusifolia - Trumpet Tree, Guarumo

Plant Name

Scientific Name: Cecropia obtusifolia

Common Names: Trumpet Tree, Guarumo

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial, Evergreen

Growth Habit: Tree

Hawaii Native Status: Introduced. Native to Central and South America.

Flower Color: Inconspicuous (yellowish)

Height: To 33 feet (10 m) or more in height. These trees are fast-growing but short-lived. The wood is weak, soft, and prone to rotting, which limits their height.

Description: The female flower spikes are followed by dangling, greenish, fingerlike fruit that are eaten by birds. The leaves have ruffled edges and are green above, whitish below, and palmately lobed with 9 to 13 lobes.

This pioneer species is quick to invade disturbed areas, and here in Hawaii, it is a weed in pastures and along edges and in gaps in lowland wet forests.

This is the only Cecropia species found in Hawaii. Octopus Tree (Schefflera actinophylla) is somewhat similar in general appearance, but the undersides of its leaves are green instead of white.

Classification

Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass: Hamamelididae
Order: Urticales
Family: Cecropiaceae – Cecropia family
Genus: Cecropia Loefl. – pumpwood
Species: Cecropia obtusifolia Bertol. – trumpet tree

More About This Plant

Hawaii County Distribution Map

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.

Classification

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