Gandasulium sieboldii (Wall.) Kuntze
Gandasulium spicatum (Sm.) Kuntze
Hedychium acuminatum Roscoe
Hedychium album Buch.-Ham. ex Wall.
Hedychium flavescens Lodd. ex Lindl.
Hedychium sieboldii Wall.
Hedychium tavoyanum Horan.
Hedychium trilobum Wall. ex Roscoe
Photograph by: peganum
Hedychium spicatum is a perennial plant growing from an aromatic, rhizomatous rootstock; it produces a cluster of leafy stems up to 150cm tall.
The plant is gathered from the wild mainly as a medicinal plant and source of a high quality essential oil.
E. Asia - China, India, Bhutan, Nepal, Sikkim, Myanmar, northern Thailand.
Forest clearings and shrubberies at elevations from 1,800 - 2,800 metres[
] from Himachal Pradesh to Arunachal Pradesh.
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Hedychium spicatum is a plant of subtropical to tropical regions. It is not very cold-hardy, tolerating short-lived temperatures falling to about -2°c[
]. It can be grown outdoors in the milder regions of the temperate zone if placed against a sunny wall and given a good mulch in the winter[
]. This is probably the hardiest species in the genus, generally succeding outdoors in zone 8, especially if the rhizomes are mulched with dry leaves in the autumn[
]. Dormant plants have been known to withstand temperatures down to -16°c in Germany[
Requires a rich moist soil and a sunny position[
]. Plants can be grown in a sunny border as a summer sub-tropical bedding plant[[
Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits[
The tubers should only just be covered with soil[
The flowers are sweetly scented, the scent being most pronounced towards evening[
Both the bruised and the dried root are very aromatic with a fragrant, somewhat pungent smell that is similar to orris root but more powerful[
Fruit - cooked[
]. Eaten in savoury dishes with lentils[
The rhizome has a strong aromatic odour and a bitter camphoraceous taste. It is carminative, emmenagogue, expectorant, stimulant, stomachic and tonic. It is useful in the treatment of liver complaints, and is also used in treating fevers, vomiting, diarrhoea, inflammation, pains, skin infections and snake bites[
The root is used in Tibetan medicine, it is said to have an acrid taste and heating potency[
]. It is digestive, stomachic and vasodilator[
]. It is used in the treatment of indigestion and poor circulation due to thickening of the blood[
The rootstock yields 4% essential oil[
]. Used in perfumery[
]. This oil, which has a scent somewhat like hyacinths, is so powerful that a single drop will render clothes highly perfumed for a considerable period[
The dried root is burnt as an incense[
An extract of the roots is used as an ingredient in commercial cosmetic preparations as a skin conditioner[
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a warm greenhouse at 18°c[
]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on for at least their first winter in the greenhouse. Plant out in late spring after the last expected frosts.
Division as growth commences in the spring[
]. Dig up the clump and divide it with a sharp spade or knife, making sure that each division has a growing shoot. Larger clumps can be planted out direct into their permanent positions, but it is best to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in a greenhouse until they are established. Plant them out in the summer or late in the following spring.