Zingiber zerumbet (L.) J.E. Smith

Zingiber zerumbet (L.) J.E. Smith




Amomum zerumbet L., Zingiber amaricans Blume, Zingiber aromaticum Valeton, Zingiber littorale Valeton.

Vernacular Names




Wild ginger, zerumbet ginger.


Shampoo plant.


Lampuyang (Sundanese), lempuyang (Javanese), lampojang (Madurese).


Barik, langkawas (Tagalog), lampuyang (Tagalog).


Khnhei phtu, prateal vong prenh atit.


Hva:nz ph'ai chai hl√ľang.


Kathue (Central), kathuepa (Northern), kawaen (Northern).


G[uwf]ng gi[os], ng[ar]i xanh.


Zerumbet, gingembre fou, gingembre blanc.

Geographical Distributions

Zingiber zerumbet is probably indigenous to India. It is cultivated in India, Sri Lanka, China and throughout Southeast Asia as a home garden plant. It is also cultivated in Martinique. In Java, var. amaricans occurs wild and cultivated, while var. aromaticum is often found cultivated and sometimes wild or naturalised, whereas var. zerumbet is only known from cultivation.


Zingiber zerumbet is a tuberous rhizome, aromatic and pale to brighter yellow inside. The leafy stems are 1.25-1.75 m tall. The leaf sheath is sparsely hairy. The ligule is entire, measures 1.5-2.5 cm long, papery and scarious. Its petiole is finely hairy. The blade is broadly lance-shaped, measuring 25-40 cm x 5-8 cm and acuminate at apex.

The inflorescence is a cylindrical to ovoid spike, measuring 6-14 cm x 4-5 cm and obtuse at apex. The inflorescence stalk is radical, erect, measures 10-30 cm long and with green sheath. The bracts are obovate, measuring 3-4 cm x 2.5 cm, green when young, red when old, convex near upper edge and apex is broadly rounded with papery margin. The bracteoles are linear to lance-shaped and measure 2.5-3.5 cm long. The sepal is 2.5 cm long, shorter than bracteole and white. The petal is 5.5 cm long, lemon yellow, with dorsal lobe measuring 2.5 cm x 2 cm while the lateral lobes measuring 1.6 cm x 0.7 cm. The lip is 5.5 cm long, with crenate margin and white or yellow. The midlobe is oblong to almost round, measures 1.5 cm long, with cleft apex while the side-lobes are ovate and measure 0.8 cm long. The anther is pale yellow.

The fruit is a cylindrical capsule, measures 1.5 cm long and red.

Ecology / Cultivation

Zingiber zerumbet is cultivated or naturalised in forest margins, brushwoods, mixed forests, teak forests and waste places near villages at altitudes up to 1200 m.

Line Drawing / Photograph


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1.       Plant Resources of South-East Asia No.13: Spices.