Far Out Flora

Kahili Ginger: Good Bad Ugly

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Over in Stybing, I wandered into the courtyard next to the main offices.   There was an instant attraction to these showy flowers, but I couldn’t find the ID tag for this guy.  After poking around, I think it’s Kahili Ginger (Hedychium gardnerianum).  Here’s the Good, Bad & Ugly.

Kahili Ginger - Hedychium gardnerianum

Kahili Ginger - Hedychium gardnerianum

The Good:  Pale yellow inflorescence with gleaming red stamens.  Yeah, the blooms are gorgeous.  The common name was derived from its similarity to the Kahili feathery scepters used by Hawaiian nobility.   I also found a hardier cultivar of this Himalayan native, Hedychium ‘Tara’.  Floradora has a shot of it.

Kahili Ginger - Hedychium gardnerianum

Kahili Ginger - Hedychium gardnerianum

The Bad:  Once you have it, its challenging to get rid of it.  But hey, there’s a lot of stuff we love that falls in that category, right?  I give you Equisetum, which we keep in containers so that it doesn’t escape into the rest of our garden.

Kahili Ginger - Hedychium gardnerianum

Kahili Ginger - Hedychium gardnerianum

The Ugly:  Wiki says it’s on the 100 Worst Invaders List.  Hum, I wasn’t buying it.  Maybe secretly inside I didn’t want it to be true.  Sure enough…it’s on the ISSG’s 100 Most Invasive Species List, #40.  Right between the Mosquito Fish and the Indian Mongoose.  Here in San Francisco, it doesn’t seem to be the evil plant as they describe.  But it’s a huge pest in Hawaii and New Zealand.  Apparently it grows like weeds along the roadside and other damp places.

– Far Out Flora

4 Comments

  1. Well in my dry limestone island I can’t even get it to live!

  2. It’s a scourge at higher elevations in Hawai’i but here it’s just too dry for it to invade.

  3. I live in South Africa, Limpopo Province. Moving to a new farm and the main garden is over grown by Hedychium in Afrikaans (my home lanuage) it is called ” Gemmer lelie” (Ginger Lilies) I need to know how to get rid of them. Must they be taken out roods and all and can i chop the plant up and put on my compost heap ?

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