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Plant Description: True ginger can be distinguished by its shorter stalks, which are 2–3 feet high. Ginger has narrow leaf blades and yellow-green flowers with purple tips growing in dense spikes. It produces plump, strongly aromatic rhizomes.To harvest, dig rhizomes in the fall or when the tops have died down.
Scientific Name: Zingiber officinale
Common Names: ginger root
Relatives: cardamom, galangal, and turmeric, while most of the other nearly 1,300 species in the family are grown primarily as ornamentals.
Origin: Southeastern Asia
Distribution/History: Believed to have been first recruited from the wild in southern China, ginger root (zingiber officinale) has become a world traveler. The first written Chinese record on ginger, dated c. 500 BCE, is attributed to Confucius, who reported in the Analects that he was never without ginger when he ate.
Importance: In Jamaica, the rhizomes are peeled, washed, and sun-dried. Since ginger is a major spice, it has many uses as a food, flavoring, and medicinal product. Candied ginger is peeled, boiled, soaked in syrup, and then rolled in sugar.