Zingiber zerumbet is one of the deciduous gingers that multiplies rapidly and blooms reliably every year. It is also known as Pinecone Ginger or Shampoo Ginger. The "shampoo" is the copious amount of fluid produced by the plant inside the mature flower cones. When squeezed out, the fluid can be used as a fragrant hair rinse or body wash.
The inflorescence emerges directly from the ground and rises about a foot above the soil. Delicate yellow flowers open a few at a time from between the scales of the green cone as summer progresses.
By fall, the cones become a bright red and can be used as long-lasting cut flowers.
Zingiber zerumbet grows to about 5 foot in height and blooms best in full sun to part shade. It is native to southeast Asia and is recommended for USDA Zones 8-11.
The root of this ginger is not considered edible, but in some traditional medicines the ground and strained rhizome was mixed with water and drunk to ease stomach ache. A poultice of the ground rhizome was also used to treat sprains and bruises. Chemical compounds extracted from the leaves and rhizomes have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties with potential for use in medicines. Buy this plant!