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Greater galangal

Alpinia galanga

Galangal major, Thai galangal (Eng.), Groter galangal (Afr.)

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Greater galangal is native to Java and is widely used in Indonesia, Malaysia and parts of India as a food flavouring and spice. The plant grows from rhizomes in clumps of stiff stalks, with no central stem, up to 2 m in height with plentiful long leaves which bear red fruit. The rhizome has an orangey-brown skin with a pale yellow/white interior and a sharp, sweet taste and smells like a blend of black pepper and pine needles. The red fruit is used in traditional Chinese medicine and has a flavor similar to cardamom. The plant produces greenish-white flowers, dark red at their tips, that later produce the red berries. The rhizome must have at least two nodes/eyes before it can be planted.

Planning

Difficulty
Easy
Flowering time
Spring
Fruiting time
Summer

Harvesting

Rhizomes can be harvested almost throughout the year. The rhizomes are more tender when they are young and actively growing with a white rather than brown skin.

Propagation

Seed
Plant to the depth of the rhizome and cover with a thin layer of soil, spacing the seeds 60-90 cm apart.
Rhizomes
Greater Galangal plants grow tuberous, branching rhizomes. Plant in a shady location in sandy loam. Keep the soil moist but not soggy. Harvest the Galangal rhizomes in early winter.

Special features

Geography

Origin
South Asia and Indonesia
Natural climate
Sub-tropical and Tropical

Environment

Light
Partial Sun
Soil moisture
Moist
Soil type
Loam, Sand
Soil PH preference
Neutral
Frost hardiness
Tender

Uses

Medicinal
This plant is recommended as a remedy for sea-sickness. it has been used for centuries in Chinese medicine.
Edible
The rhizome is a common ingredient in Thai curries and soups. The leaves and young shoots are also edible.

Personality

Family
Zingiberaceae
Flower colour
Pale Pink, Pink, Rose/Mauve, Red, Pale Yellow, Greenish-White
Scent
Mild

Problems

Pests include stem borer and leaf eating caterpillars with leaf blight being a common disease.

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