Hedychium coronarium – Butterfly Ginger Lily – Ajaytao
Common name: Butterfly Ginger Lily, White Ginger Lily, Garland Flower, Fiji: Cevuga vula, Hawaii: Awapuhi ke’oke’o, Indonesia: Gondasuli, Gandasoli, Mandasuli, Malaysia: Gandasuli, Suli, Nepal: Dudh kevara, Thai: Hanghong, Mahaahong, Tha haan, Hun kaeo, Samoa: Teuila paepae, Vietnam: Bch dip
Sanskrit: Kalyana saughandhikam, Hindi: Dolan champa दोलन चम्पा • Manipuri: তখেল্লৈ অঙৌবা Takhellei angouba • Marathi: Sontaka • Kannada: Suruli Sugandhi • Assamese: Pakhila phul • Tamil: Chankitam, Chantikantam, Chantiramullikai • Oriya: स्वर्ण चम्पा Swarna champa • Telugu: Kichchiligadda, Vasa Vasanthi,
Botanical name: Hedychium coronarium (J.König)
Family: Zingiberaceae (Ginger family)
Species: H. coronarium
The white ginger lily (Hedychium coronarium) is a perennial flowering plant originally from the Himalayas region of Nepal and India. It was introduced in Brazil in the era of slavery, brought to the country by African slaves who used its leaves as mattresses, and is now so common that it is considered an invasive weed. It is also considered an invasive species in Hawaii. Hedychium is a genus of flowering plants in the ginger family Zingiberaceae, native to lightly wooded habitats in Asia. It is a popular landscape plant throughout Florida, the Gulf Coast, California, the Caribbean and tropical and subtropical areas worldwide. Ginger lily also is grown in mild winter temperate regions of North America and Europe where it dies back in winter but re-emerges in spring.
Butterfly ginger lily is an erect shrub with a stout rootstock, growing 0.5 to 1.5 meters high. Leaves are smooth or the lower surfaces moderately hairy, lanceolate to oblong-lanceolate, 10 to 50 centimeters long, 3 to 11 centimeters wide, with slender pointed tip. Ligule is prominent, 1 to 3 centimeters long. Ellipsoid spike is at the top of the stem, 5 to 12 centimeters long. Bracts are green, ovate to obovate, about 4 centimeters long, and each with 2 or 3 very fragrant flowers, with a fragrance that is more pronounced in the evening. Calyx is tubular, clefted on one side, and about 4 centimeters long; lobes are narrow, involute, and about 4 centimeters long. Lip is obcordate or obovate, 5 to 6 centimeters in diameter, white and pale yellow in the center. Staminodes are white, oblong-elliptic, obtuse, narrowed at the base, 4 to 5 centimeters long and 2 to 2.5 centimeters wide. Capsule is oblong, smooth, many seeded, with orange-yellow valves inside. Aril is red.
Butterfly ginger lily is beautiful and fragrant flower. It is a robust, attractive plant that will reach 6 feet in containers. Butterfly ginger stalks emerge from a thick, slowly growing rhizome and grow skyward through the spring and summer. In late summer, pinecone-like buds form atop the thick 5′ tall stems. Starting in midsummer, the 2″ wide, butterfly-shaped (white with a central yellow blotch) flowers of Hedychium coronarium begin to open, a few each day, perfuming the air with a rich honeysuckle-like fragrance until frost. They are rhizomatous perennials, commonly growing 120–180 cm (47–71 in) tall. Leaves are lance-shaped and sharp-pointed, 8-24 in long and 2-5 in wide and arranged in 2 neat ranks that run the length of the stem. From midsummer through autumn the stalks are topped with 6-12 in long clusters of wonderfully fragrant white flowers that look like butterflies. The flowers eventually give way to showy seed pods chock full of bright red seeds.
Sun Exposure: Sun to Partial Shade, Light Shade
Bloom Color: White, Near White
Bloom Time: Mid Summer, Late Summer, Early Fall
Foliage: Herbaceous, Smooth-Textured
Other details: Flowers are fragrant
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Soil pH requirements: 5.6 to 6.0 (acidic), 6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
Propagation Methods: By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs.
Hedychium coronarium is a real attention-getter in the summer garden, slightly moist, well-drained soils produce the best flowering.
Some species are cultivated for their exotic foliage and fragrant spikes of flowers in shades of white, yellow and orange. Numerous cultivars have been developed for garden use, of which ‘Tara’ has gained the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.
H. coronarium is the National Flower of Cuba, where it is known as “Mariposa” (literally “butterfly”) due to its shape. Women used to adorn themselves with these fragrant flowers in Spanish colonial times; because of the intricate structure of the inflorescence, women hid and carried secret messages important to the independence cause under it. The plant has become wild in the cool rainy mountains in Sierra del Rosario, Pinar del Rio Province in the west, Escambray Mountains in the center of the island, and in Sierra Maestra in the very west of it.
Butterfly ginger lily (takhellei) is used in Manipur to make a floral ornament known as nachom, together with Mimosa Bush flowers (chingonglei). Two or three flowers of the chingonglei are inserted inside the lily and the combination of the two flowers is regarded as divine. This ornamental flower combination is usually worn behind the ear by womenfolk. The plants are very robust and quickly grow out of the containers. They need to be divided yearly. Remove old stems after flowers have faded to promote new growth.
Combine ginger lily with its relatives in the ginger family, Zingiberaceae, to create easy growing but dramatically tropical (part) shade gardens. Pinecone ginger (Zingiber zerumbet) has similar leaves with big bulbous reproductive structures from which awaphui shampoo is made. The official ginger (Zingiber officinale) has a similar root as butterfly ginger but one that is much tastier. Shell ginger (Alpinia zerumbet) is a spectacular tropical flower and dancing girls ginger (Globba winitii) produces some of the cutest and showiest flowers in the garden.
Young buds and flowers are edible. Used as flavoring. Roots used as famine food.
Dried rhizome contains: starch, 3 %; glucose, 4.58 %; albumen, 1.65 %; fats, 0.33%; resinous acid, 3.6%; resinous acid, 3.66%; resin, 5.93 %; extractive matter, 0.91%; essential oil;, 13.75 %; organic acids, 5.5%; cellulose, 29.68%.
The flower yields a fragrant essential oil; the rhizome, a volatile oil.
Study on rhizomes yielded coronarin -D, coronarin -D ethyl ether, coronarin -E, and a new diterpene identified as (+)-14β-hydroxylabda-8(17),12-dieno-16,15-lactone, assigned the trivial name of isocoronarin-D. Several labdane-type diterpenes–coronarin A, B, C, D, E, and F have been isolated from the rhizome.
Folkloric: Decoction of stems near the rhizome used as a gargle for tonsillitis; or the raw stem chewed for same purpose.
In the Moluccas the base of the stem is chewed and the juice applied to swellings.
In Brazil decoction of rhizome is antirheumatic, tonic and excitant.
In India, sold in bottles of extract called Gulbakawali Ark; used as eye tonic and for to prevent eye cataracts. Certain tribal groups of Bihar use the rhizome of the plant as febrifuge. In Ayurveda, considered febrifuge, tonic, stimulant and antirheumatic.
In Bangladesh plant rhizome used for diabetes.
In Chinese medicine, used for headache, inflammatory pains, rheumatism.
In the Moluccas used as antirheumatic, tonic, and excitant.
In Hawaii juice of mature seeds use as treatment for hair and skin afflictions.
In Thailand, boiled leaves are applied to relieve stiff and sore joints.
H. coronarium has been included in the Global Invasive Species Database (GISD 2008). It has been listed as a noxious weed in South Africa (prohibited plants that must be controlled. They serve no economic purpose and possess characteristics that are harmful to humans, animals or the environment) and Queensland Australia.
Hedychium coronarium is a widely cultivated garden ornamental and as a source of cut flowers. It is the national plant of Cuba. Its rhizomes are edible and also have medicinal properties. However, these uses cannot compensate for this plant’s overall negative impacts.