Invasive Species Compendium

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Datasheet

Hedychium coccineum
(scarlet ginger lily)

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Datasheet

Hedychium coccineum (scarlet ginger lily)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 19 November 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Hedychium coccineum
  • Preferred Common Name
  • scarlet ginger lily
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Monocotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • Hedychium coccineum is an adaptable, tall, herbaceous, and very variable ornamental plant native to Asia. It can colonise natural or semi-natural habitats, from riverine fringe and mountain grasslands to forest...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Hedychium coccineum (scarlet ginger lily); habit. Natural population. Meghalaya, India. July 2008.
TitleHabit
CaptionHedychium coccineum (scarlet ginger lily); habit. Natural population. Meghalaya, India. July 2008.
Copyright©CABI/Djami Djeddour-2008
Hedychium coccineum (scarlet ginger lily); habit. Natural population. Meghalaya, India. July 2008.
HabitHedychium coccineum (scarlet ginger lily); habit. Natural population. Meghalaya, India. July 2008.©CABI/Djami Djeddour-2008
Hedychium coccineum (scarlet ginger lily); habit. Natural population. Meghalaya, India. July 2008.
TitleHabit
CaptionHedychium coccineum (scarlet ginger lily); habit. Natural population. Meghalaya, India. July 2008.
Copyright©CABI/Djami Djeddour-2008
Hedychium coccineum (scarlet ginger lily); habit. Natural population. Meghalaya, India. July 2008.
HabitHedychium coccineum (scarlet ginger lily); habit. Natural population. Meghalaya, India. July 2008.©CABI/Djami Djeddour-2008
Hedychium coccineum (scarlet ginger lily); habit. Natural population. Meghalaya, India. July 2008.
TitleHabit
CaptionHedychium coccineum (scarlet ginger lily); habit. Natural population. Meghalaya, India. July 2008.
Copyright©CABI/Djami Djeddour-2008
Hedychium coccineum (scarlet ginger lily); habit. Natural population. Meghalaya, India. July 2008.
HabitHedychium coccineum (scarlet ginger lily); habit. Natural population. Meghalaya, India. July 2008.©CABI/Djami Djeddour-2008
Hedychium coccineum (scarlet ginger lily); inflorescence. South Africa.
TitleInflorescence
CaptionHedychium coccineum (scarlet ginger lily); inflorescence. South Africa.
Copyright©Geoff Nichols
Hedychium coccineum (scarlet ginger lily); inflorescence. South Africa.
InflorescenceHedychium coccineum (scarlet ginger lily); inflorescence. South Africa.©Geoff Nichols
Hedychium coccineum (scarlet ginger lily); habit, growing wild. Sikkim, India. November 2014.
TitleHabit
CaptionHedychium coccineum (scarlet ginger lily); habit, growing wild. Sikkim, India. November 2014.
Copyright©CABI/Norbert Maczey-2014
Hedychium coccineum (scarlet ginger lily); habit, growing wild. Sikkim, India. November 2014.
HabitHedychium coccineum (scarlet ginger lily); habit, growing wild. Sikkim, India. November 2014.©CABI/Norbert Maczey-2014
Hedychium coccineum (scarlet ginger lily); fruits. Sikkim, India. November 2014.
TitleFruits
CaptionHedychium coccineum (scarlet ginger lily); fruits. Sikkim, India. November 2014.
Copyright©CABI/Norbert Maczey-2014
Hedychium coccineum (scarlet ginger lily); fruits. Sikkim, India. November 2014.
FruitsHedychium coccineum (scarlet ginger lily); fruits. Sikkim, India. November 2014.©CABI/Norbert Maczey-2014
Hedychium coccineum (scarlet ginger lily); blooming in a UK greenhouse. October 2011.
TitleBlooming in a UK greenhouse
CaptionHedychium coccineum (scarlet ginger lily); blooming in a UK greenhouse. October 2011.
Copyright©CABI/Djami Djeddour-2011
Hedychium coccineum (scarlet ginger lily); blooming in a UK greenhouse. October 2011.
Blooming in a UK greenhouseHedychium coccineum (scarlet ginger lily); blooming in a UK greenhouse. October 2011.©CABI/Djami Djeddour-2011

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Hedychium coccineum Buch.-Ham. ex Sm.

Preferred Common Name

  • scarlet ginger lily

Other Scientific Names

  • Gandasulium angustifolium (Roxb.) Kuntze
  • Gandasulium coccineum (Buch.-Ham. ex Sm.) Kuntze
  • Hedychium angustifolium Roxb.
  • Hedychium aurantiacum Roscoe
  • Hedychium carneum Roscoe
  • Hedychium longifolium Roscoe
  • Hedychium roscoei Wall. ex Roscoe
  • Hedychium squarrosum Buch.-Ham. ex Wall.

International Common Names

  • English: orange bottlebrush ginger; orange ginger lily; red ginger lily; scarlet ginger lily
  • Spanish: lirio de gengibre rojo; mariposa punzó; mariposa roja
  • French: gingembre-douleur; hédychie écarlate; longose; longose à fleurs rouges
  • Chinese: hong jiang hua

Local Common Names

  • Brazil: gengibre vermelho; jasmim-vermelho
  • Cuba: mariposa punzó; mariposa roja
  • Germany: Scharlachingwer
  • India: bhui ada; litsung; ruangpua; samriching
  • Jamaica: red ginger lily; scarlet ginger lily
  • Réunion: gingembre-douleur; hédychie écarlate; longose à fleurs rouges
  • South Africa: red ginger lily; rooigemmerlelies
  • Thailand: kha dong

Summary of Invasiveness

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Hedychium coccineum is an adaptable, tall, herbaceous, and very variable ornamental plant native to Asia. It can colonise natural or semi-natural habitats, from riverine fringe and mountain grasslands to forest understorey. In its introduced range, it can become dominant or co-dominant in natural or semi-natural environments, competing with and displacing indigenous species (e.g. in La Réunion, Africa; Brazil; South Africa). Similarly to other Hedychium species (i.e., Hedychium gardnerianum and H. coronarium), it is widely traded as a garden ornamental around the world. H. coccineum is included in the Global Invasive Species Database (2014) and the Global Compendium of Weeds (Randall, 2012) and is a declared weed and invasive species in some countries. Its environmental adaptability, high commercial appeal and growing impact in countries where it has established suggest its prospective spread in delicate ecosystems cannot be underestimated.

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Monocotyledonae
  •                     Order: Zingiberales
  •                         Family: Zingiberaceae
  •                             Genus: Hedychium
  •                                 Species: Hedychium coccineum

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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The pantropical Zingiberaceae family includes 52 genera and 1,340 species of perennial herbs, mostly with creeping horizontal or tuberous rhizomes, generally aromatic and rich in starch. The Zingiberaceae is one of eight families of monocotyledons that make up the order Zingiberales. Four of these families form the monophyletic ginger group containing the Marantaceae, Cannaceae, Costaceae, and Zingiberaceae (Kress, 1990). The taxonomy of the horticulturally important genus Hedychium has been controversial since the middle of the nineteenth century. Nathaniel Wallich was one of the first to attempt to tackle its complexities but to this day, the genus still fuels arguments. New classification of the Zingiberaceae by Kress et al. (2002) based on molecular characterization, places the Hedychium genera within the subfamily Zingiberoidea and the Zingiberae tribe.

James Edward Smith named H. coccineum in 1811. Another published species, H. carneum, is also referred to as H. coccineum (Branney, 2005). It’s incredibly variable, as one might expect given such a wide natural distribution, with flower size, colour and hardiness variations exhibited. Therefore, species delimitation has varied amongst authors for H. coccineum and some have divided it into seven species (Wood, 2000). A number of distinct selections/varieties have been bred and the ease with which artificial interspecific hybrids can also be created goes some way to explain the natural hybridisation potential of Hedychium species and the taxonomic confusion which can ensue.

Varieties and Hybrids

Hedychium coccineum var. angustifolium was originally described as a separate species by William Roxburgh in 1824 and has distinct and narrower foliage and the flower spike, though similar in size to the species, produces smaller individual flowers (Branney, 2005). Wallich (1853), in his “initiatory attempt to define the species of Hedychium and settle their synonymy”, believed that it was impossible to discriminate between Hamilton’s H. coccineum and Roxburgh’s H. angustifolium, except in their fresh state, and that they were possible one and the same species.

Hedychium coccineum var. aurantiacum was named by William Roscoe and is an Indian variety not unlike H. coccineum var. angustifolium but with more open and lax flower spikes (Branney, 2005). Tom Wood developed a number of varieties of Hedychium coccineum including var. aurantiacum, commercially known as ’Flaming Torch’ which has a vigorous growth and a larger flower spike.

Hedychium coccineum ‘woodlander’ is said to be a hybrid between H. coccineum var. coccineum and H. coccineum var. angustifolium and was commercially distributed by a South Carolina nursery in the 1980s from its origins in Coimbra, Portugal (Branney, 2005).

Hedychium 'Tara' or Hedychium coccineum ‘Tara’ was collected as seed in Nagarkot, Nepal in 1972 by Tony Schilling at 2280m from the Kathmandu valley. It was subsequently germinated in Wakehurst place, Sussex, UK, and identified as an unusual form of the variable Hedychium coccineum (Branney, 2005). Over the years and following distribution through the gardens of southern England it has been suggested that rather than being a form of H. coccineum, this is more likely to be a natural hybrid between H. coccineum and Hedychium gardnerianum (Branney, 2005). Another hybrid from the same parentage is Hedychium ‘Raffilli’ but it has inherited the extended stamen filament from the H. gardnerianum parent. The original collector, Tony Schilling, has contested this theory however and suggests that DNA analysis may be more revealing and as for other peculiar cultivars of Hedychium species, may turn out to be a variant within this greatly plastic and polymorphic species (Schilling, 2012).

Several other H. coccineum hybrids are known to be in cultivation: the highly regarded Hedychium 'Dr Moy' (H. flavum × H. coccineum), Hedychium 'Edison Home', Hedychium 'Moy Giant' (H. coccineum × H. coronarium), Hedychium 'salmon' and Hedychium 'Tai Pink Profusion' (H. densiflorum ×H. coccineum).

Description

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H. coccineum is a vigorous perennial herb. Pseudostems grow up to 1.5-2 m height. Leaves sessile; ligule 1.2-2.5 cm; leaf blade narrowly linear, 25-50 × 3-5 cm, glabrous, base subrounded or attenuate, apex caudate-acuminate. Spikes cylindric, usually dense, glabrous or sparsely villous; bracts oblong, 3-3.5 cm, leathery, sparsely pubescent, rarely glabrous, 3-flowered, margin involute or rather flat, apex obtuse or acute. Flowers red. Calyx ca. 2.5 cm, sparsely pubescent especially at 3-toothed apex. Corolla tube slightly longer than calyx; lobes reflexed, linear, ca. 3 cm. Lateral staminodes lanceolate, ca. 2.3 cm. Labellum orbicular, ca. 2 cm wide or rather small, apex deeply 2-cleft. Filament ca. 5 cm; anther 7-8 mm. Ovary sericeous, 2.5-3 mm. Capsule globose, approximately 2 cm in diameter. Seeds red. (Flora of China Editorial Committee 2012).

Plant Type

Top of page Broadleaved
Herbaceous
Perennial
Seed propagated
Vegetatively propagated

Distribution

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H. coccineum is native to the Indian and Nepalese Himalayas (Bhutan, NE India, Myanmar, Sikkim) China (Guangxi, SE Xizang Province, Tibet, Yunnan Province), and south to Bangladesh Myanmar and northern Vietnam and Thailand. It has a long history of cultivation across southern and south-central Asia. It is naturalized in many regions worldwide including Africa, Sri Lanka, Brazil and the West Indies (Fournet 2002; Govaerts, 2016).

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasiveReferenceNotes

Asia

BangladeshPresentNativeAhmed, 2008; Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 2014; Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, 2014Chittagong, 1832 (H. coccineum var. angustifolium synonym)
BhutanPresentNativeDigital flora of Bhutan, 2014; Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2014; Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 2014
ChinaPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2014
-GuangxiPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2014
-TibetPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2014Southeast (Medog Xian)
-YunnanPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2014South Yunnan
IndiaPresentNativeWCSP, 2014
-AssamPresentNativeBorah and Sharma, 2012Dibrugarh District
-ManipurPresentNativeSarangthem et al., 2013Districts of Tamenglong, Senapati, Bishnupur
-MeghalayaPresentNativeBalakrishnan, 1983
-SikkimPresentNativeKumar, 2001; Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2014; Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, 2014
-West BengalPresentNativeRoyal Botanic Gardens Kew, 2014Darjeeling, Loongdong (1867)
IndonesiaPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-JavaPresentNativeLudwig, 1900
LaosPresentNativeRoyal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 2014Ban Fen, open space near village (rice fields), growing among tall grass near stream
MyanmarPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2014; Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 2014
NepalPresentNativeArmstrong et al., 2004; Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2014; Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 2014; Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, 2014
SingaporePresentIntroducedChong et al., 2009
Sri LankaPresentNativeDassanayake, 1983; Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2014; Govaerts, 2016
ThailandPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2014
VietnamPresentNativeSchilling, 1982; National Museum of Natural History Paris, 2014Collected 1929 and 1941

Africa

MauritiusPresentIntroducedNational Botanical Conservatory of Mascarin, 2012; Sakhanokho et al., 2013
RéunionPresent1930-40Introduced Invasive Baret et al., 2006; National Botanical Conservatory of Mascarin, 2012; Invasive Species Group of Reunion, 2014
South AfricaPresentIntroduced Invasive Lesley Henderson, Southern African Plant Invaders Atlas database leader, personal communication, 201; Henderson, 2001KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo provinces

North America

USAPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedDave's Garden, 2014USDA Hardiness zones 8-11
-AlabamaPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedDave's Garden, 2014Lowndesboro
-CaliforniaPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedDave's Garden, 2014Fresno
-FloridaPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedDave's Garden, 2014Belleview, Brandon, Micanopy, Neptune Beach, Orlando, Panama City Beach, Port Charlotte, Winter Haven, Yulee
-HawaiiPresentIntroducedBernice Pauahi Bishop Museum, 2014; Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden, 2014Honolulu: Nuuanu Valley
-LouisianaPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedDave's Garden, 2014Denham Springs,New Orleans,Slidell
-North CarolinaPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedDave's Garden, 2014Wilmington
-PennsylvaniaPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedDave's Garden, 2014Philadelphia
-WashingtonPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedDave's Garden, 2014Vancouver

Central America and Caribbean

Costa RicaPresentIntroducedRoyal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 2014Collected from the wild
CubaPresentIntroducedAdams, 1972; Oviedo et al., 2012Listed as potentially invasive
El SalvadorLocalisedIntroducedMissouri Botanical Garden, 2014La Libertad, botanical gardens
GuadeloupePresentIntroducedFournet, 2002; Biological Resource Centre, 2007
JamaicaPresentIntroduced Invasive Adams, 1972; Kairo et al., 2003
MartiniquePresentIntroducedFournet, 2002; Biological Resource Centre, 2007

South America

BrazilPresentIntroducedRio de Janerio Botanic Garden Research Institute, 2014
-Minas GeraisPresentIntroducedRio de Janerio Botanic Garden Research Institute, 2014; I3N-Brasil, 2016Edge of River, Biguaçu (1945)
-ParanaPresentIntroducedInter-American Biodiversity Information Network, 2008a; I3N-Brasil, 2016
-Rio Grande do SulPresentIntroduced Invasive I3N-Brasil, 2016
VenezuelaPresentIntroducedHoyos, 1985; Smithsonian Institution, 2014

Europe

ItalyPresentIntroducedRoyal Botanic Gardens Kew, 2014Palermo (Hedychium coccineum. var. longifolium synonym)
UKPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedSchilling, 1982; Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 2014H. coccineum “Tara” in Windsor Great Park, the RHS Garden at Wisley, as well as gardens sited in east Kent and Norfolk

Oceania

AustraliaPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedRandall, 2012; Queensland Government, 2014H. coccineum “Tara” in cultivation
-Western AustraliaPresentIntroduced

History of Introduction and Spread

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Hedychium species were popular ornamental plants in European conservatories in the Victorian era (1807-1901). British gardeners never tried growing the plant outside and ultimately rising fuel prices caused a drop in the popularity of conservatory plants and Hedychium species went out of fashion, nearly disappearing from cultivation. By 1965 Tony Schilling "re-discovered" the genus and the later release of one high altitude and more cold-hardy cultivar, Hedychium 'Assam Orange' in the early 1970s, re-ignited the European and American love for the genus. Since then, they have spread all over the world in warm temperate gardens. Breeders have been releasing many new cultivars of hardy gingers.

In many sub-tropical countries it has escaped cultivation and naturalised, invading natural and semi natural habitats and forest edges. First recorded in 1930s-40s in the Mascarene Island of La Réunion (National Botanical Conservatory of Mascarin, 2012), it is also naturalised in KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo provinces in South Africa where it competes with and replaces indigenous species and obstructs access to plantations.

Introductions

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Introduced toIntroduced fromYearReasonIntroduced byEstablished in wild throughReferencesNotes
Natural reproductionContinuous restocking
Australia Asia   Horticulture (pathway cause) Yes Biosecurity and Agriculture Management Act (2007) Quarantine pest
Brazil   Horticulture (pathway cause) Yes Inter-American Biodiversity Information Network (2008a); Ludwig (1900); Schneider (2007) Invasive
Guadeloupe   Horticulture (pathway cause) Yes Kairo et al. (2003); PIER (2014)
Jamaica   Horticulture (pathway cause) Yes Kairo et al. (2003) Invasive
Martinique   Horticulture (pathway cause) Yes Kairo et al. (2003); PIER (2014)
Réunion 1930s Horticulture (pathway cause) Yes Shine (2008) Environmental weed
South Africa Asia   Horticulture (pathway cause) Yes Foxcroft et al. (2008); Henderson (2003); Macdonald et al. (2003); National Environmental Management Biodiversity Act (2004) Naturalised, cultivation escape, declared noxious weed. Noxious in Kruger National Park
USA Yunnan   Horticulture (pathway cause)Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum (2014); Dave's Garden (2014) In cultivation in tropical gardens and private gardens, localised on Hawaii islands e.g. Honolulu: Nuuanu Valley
USA China   Horticulture (pathway cause)Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum (2014); Dave's Garden (2014) In cultivation in tropical gardens and private gardens, localised on Hawaii islands e.g. Honolulu: Nuuanu Valley
USA Asia   Horticulture (pathway cause)Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum (2014); Dave's Garden (2014) In cultivation in tropical gardens and private gardens, localised on Hawaii islands e.g. Honolulu: Nuuanu Valley
Venezuela   Horticulture (pathway cause) Yes Smithsonian Institution (2014) Recorded at altitude of 1100m from Aragua

Risk of Introduction

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The risk of introduction of H. coccineum is high. This species is well established in commerce, and it is widely sold and traded internationally. H. coccineum and its variant forms/hybrids hold great horticultural value, particularly in the US (including Hawaii), Canada, Australia, UK and across Asia. Currently, H. coccineum is listed as a quarantine pest in Western Australia (Biosecurity and Agriculture Management Act, 2007), and as a Category 1 CARA declared weed in South Africa (Conservation of Agricultural Resources Act, Act 43 of 1983, amended in 2001). This means these plants may no longer be planted or propagated, and all trade in their seeds, cuttings or other propagative material is prohibited. They may not be transported or be allowed to disperse.

Habitat

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In its native range of Asia, H. coccineum is a lower mountain plant which grows on temperate, subtropical forest edges and favours semi shaded sites. H. coccineum in Manipur (northeast district of India) grows between 750 - 1300m and has the widest distributional area of all Hedychium species there, encompassing both the hills and the plains (Sarangthem, 2013). In Sikkim (northeastern Himalayas, India), H. coccineum var. squarrosum grows at higher elevations (2400 - 2700m) (Kumar, 2001). H. coccineum is also known from grassland of mountain areas in Yunnan, China and can tolerate strong sunshine. In its invasive range it is found in moist, shaded sites (e.g. KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa) with reported infestations in natural forest invaded by pines and acacias, below cliffs, north facing areas, moist areas, understorey areas and plantations.

In many sub-tropical countries it has escaped cultivation and naturalised, invading natural and semi natural habitats and forest edges. H. coccineum grows well in the central plateau in Mauritius, where the climate is cool and humid. It tends to be invasive in sub-forest and even abandoned land or gardens. It also grows on riverine fringes, like it does in South Africa.

On the Island of Réunion, Africa, H. coccineum has the potential to invade sparsely planted forests on well drained soils, cliffs and volcanic mountains in the Island interior (Invasive Species Group of Reunion, 2014).

H. coccineum can be found in similar habitats to its congener Hedychium gardnerianum, which has itself become a serious weed of native bushland, rainforests, closed forests, forest margins, watercourses and riparian habitats in countries where H. coccineum is also naturalized, such as in sub-tropical and warmer temperate regions of New Zealand; Hawaii, USA; South Africa; La Réunion, Africa; and Australia.

Habitat List

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CategorySub-CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Terrestrial
Terrestrial – ManagedCultivated / agricultural land Secondary/tolerated habitat Productive/non-natural
Protected agriculture (e.g. glasshouse production) Secondary/tolerated habitat Productive/non-natural
Managed forests, plantations and orchards Secondary/tolerated habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Managed forests, plantations and orchards Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural
Disturbed areas Secondary/tolerated habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Disturbed areas Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural
Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalNatural forests Principal habitat Natural
Riverbanks Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural
Freshwater
Rivers / streams Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural

Hosts/Species Affected

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Infestations of H. coccineum have been reported in plantations in South Africa as well as limited access to plantations caused by the plant (Henderson, 2001).

Biology and Ecology

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Genetics

The chromosome number reported for H. coccineum is 2n = 68 (Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2014). Hedychium (x = 17) (Gao et al. 2008).

Mukherjee (1970) examined Hedychium species from India and reported a degree of correlation between leaf index and ploidy level, indicating that with the increase in the level of ploidy, there is also an increase in the leaf breadth and decrease in leaf length in the genus Hedychium. Accordingly, the diploid taxa have longer and narrower leaves in comparison to tetraploids which have shorter and broader leaves. While the stomatal size increases, their number per unit area decreases with the increase in ploidy level. H. coccineum (from Darjeeling) was found to be tetraploid and its chromosomes fall in 13 fours, 2 triplets and 5 pairs with 68 chromosomes agreeing with that reported in Flora of China Editorial Committee (2014). Mukherjee (1970) found the tetraploids to be erect, large with few tillers, small flowers and scarcely fragrant. However, number of flowers arising from elongate spikes has increased considerably. Flowers are fully fertile and they are probably alloploid in constitution. No positive correlation between level of ploidy and the useful properties like size and colour and extent of scent in flowers was detected.

Reproductive Biology

The scent of the flowers and the conspicuous petals indicate insect pollination, while the long exerted stamen and style suggest that hovering insects in particular may be involved. Reports of self-sterility dating back to 1900 are common for the genus (Holttum, 1950; Gao et al., 2008), with morphological individuals of the species appearing sterile between themselves despite hybridisation with other species of the same genus (Ludwig, 1900). Whilst this ready hybridization has contributed to the confusion surrounding the current taxonomy of Hedychium (Wood et al., 2000), it provides breeders with an opportunity to develop many new cultivars. Failed cross-fertilization of a Javanese H. coccineum with plants introduced into Brazil has been reported for this species (Ludwig 1900). The structure and development of the inflorescence and flowers of H. coccineum is described in detail in Kong et al. (2010).

Physiology and Phenology

In China, this species has been recorded flowering from June to August and fruiting in October (Flora of China, 2016). Peak bloom occurs in early to mid-summer in zones of the United States, but a few blooms may appear in the late summer to autumn months on late-emerging canes. In South Africa, it flowers from January to March.

The chemical composition of the essential oils obtained from the hydrodistillation of the rhizomes of H. coccineum grown in Mauritius was investigated by GC and GC/MS. The oils were characterized as follows: H. coccineum: (E)-nerolidol (44.4%), trans-sesquisabinene hydrate (24.2%) (Gurib-Fakima et al., 2002).

Associations

H. coccineum attracts hummingbirds in areas where it has been planted in Florida, USA (Dave’s Garden, 2014).

Environmental Requirements

H. coccineum prefers moist, wet and well-drained soil, but it is ecologically very versatile. It grows within an altitudinal range of 600 m-2300 m. It is recommended for USDA Zones 8-11 being evergreen at the warm end of the range and grown as a deciduous perennial in colder zones. It prefers a warm, frost-free climate although it will grow outside in temperate areas that have light, infrequent frosts. Easily cultivated in gardens in temperate regions, it will tolerate full sun to light shade and is considered one of the hardier gingers (Branney, 2005).

Climate

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ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
Af - Tropical rainforest climate Preferred > 60mm precipitation per month
Am - Tropical monsoon climate Preferred Tropical monsoon climate ( < 60mm precipitation driest month but > (100 - [total annual precipitation(mm}/25]))
As - Tropical savanna climate with dry summer Tolerated < 60mm precipitation driest month (in summer) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
Aw - Tropical wet and dry savanna climate Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in winter) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
Cf - Warm temperate climate, wet all year Tolerated Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, wet all year
Cs - Warm temperate climate with dry summer Tolerated Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry summers
Cw - Warm temperate climate with dry winter Tolerated Warm temperate climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry winters)
Ds - Continental climate with dry summer Tolerated Continental climate with dry summer (Warm average temp. > 10°C, coldest month < 0°C, dry summers)
Dw - Continental climate with dry winter Tolerated Continental climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, coldest month < 0°C, dry winters)

Soil Tolerances

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Soil drainage

  • free
  • impeded
  • seasonally waterlogged

Soil reaction

  • acid
  • neutral

Soil texture

  • light
  • medium

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Asterolecanium epidendri Herbivore Leaves
Pseudocercospora hedychii Pathogen Leaves
Ralstonia solanacearum Pathogen Leaves/Stems

Notes on Natural Enemies

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Cercospora hedychii [Pseudocercospora hedychii] fungi was reported from the leaves of H. coccineum in Java, Indonesia (Bussaban, 2002; USDA-ARS, 2014). There are also records of Leptosphaeria sp. from Cuba occurring on H. coccineum (USDA-ARS, 2014).

Ben-Dov (2006) report H. coccineum as a host of the scale insect, Asterolecanium epidendri (Hemiptera order, Asterolecaniidae family).

Surveys across the Indian native range have provided an opportunity to observe natural enemies associated with a number of Hedychium species, including H. coccineum. In the state of Meghalaya, surveys in the East Khasi Hills highlighted a number of damaging insect and pathogen species associated with the plant such as fungal leafspots and leaf folders (Lepidoptera) and leaf miners (Hispine beetles) (D Djeddour, CABI, Egham, personal observation, 2014).

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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H. coccineum spreads by seeds and vegetative by regeneration of rhizomes.

Natural Dispersal

The seeds are readily dispersed by birds and other animals that are attracted to their bright colours. Seeds and segments of its creeping underground stems (i.e. rhizomes) may also be dispersed by water.

Intentional Introduction

H. coccineum and its variant forms and hybrids are widely traded around the world for ornamental purposes. Such introductions are encouraged by the availability of seed and rhizome from the horticultural industry via mail-order catalogues. Garden escapes from cultivation and dumping of garden waste are sources of new growth and potential infestations.

In Brazil, H. coccineum is recorded from the State of Minas Gerais (Bela Horizonte) and is spreading by seed and rhizomes from the municipal parks and gardens. H. coccineum is also spreading at Kruger National Park in Africa where it was introduced for horticulture (Foxcroft et al., 2008).

Pathway Vectors

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VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
AircraftOrnamental trade Yes Branney, 2005; Dave's Garden, 2014
Debris and waste associated with human activities Yes Henderson, 2003
Host and vector organismsBirds eat fruit and spread seed long distances Yes
WaterSeeds and rhizome fragments Yes

Impact Summary

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CategoryImpact
Cultural/amenity Positive and negative
Economic/livelihood Positive and negative
Environment (generally) Negative

Economic Impact

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In KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo provinces in South Africa, H. coccineum competes with and replaces indigenous species and obstructs access to plantations (Invasive Species South Africa, 2014).

Environmental Impact

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Environmental Impact

Many countries have listed H. coccineum as a declared weed and invasive species. It is one of the most widespread 100 exotic weeds on the Island of Réunion, Africa, and is listed an invasive alien plant and environmental weed in other French tropical overseas territories such as Guadeloupe and Martinique. It is also listed as an alien invasive plant and environmental weed in Jamaica, Cuba, Brazil and South Africa (PIER, 2014; Kairo et al., 2003; Oviedo et al., 2012; I3N-Brasil, 2016). Randall (2012) lists H. coccineum as Category 5 (declared noxious weed).

Impact on Habitats

H. coccineum is able to form dense stands which prevent endemic species recruitment and regeneration of trees and modify the habitat available to native animals, and eventually threaten the integrity of the forest ecosystems. It is classed at level 4 out of 5 on the invasive list of the Invasive Species Group of Reunion (Groupe Espèces Invasives de La Réunion) (2014) as it is capable of invading and spreading in natural and semi natural areas but cannot be said to dominate the native vegetation.

In South Africa, this species competes with and replaces native species. First recorded from Kruger National Park (South Africa) in 1999 and recorded in at least two tourist camps, H. coccineum has escaped from cultivation and become naturalised outside of these staff gardens and tourist rest camps (Foxcroft et al., 2007). Introduced for horticulture, these plants now provide abundant propagules which can threaten the biodiversity of the park if left unchecked.

Invasive in Brazilian forests, H. coccineum does not set seeds like its congeneric species, H. gardnerianum and H. coronarium but hybridization may increase the problem caused by their invasions in natural habitats, wetlands, and in rainforests (e.g. Minas Gerais) (Macedo, 1997).

Social Impact

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None recorded.

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Has a broad native range
  • Abundant in its native range
  • Highly adaptable to different environments
  • Is a habitat generalist
  • Tolerant of shade
  • Has high reproductive potential
  • Has propagules that can remain viable for more than one year
  • Reproduces asexually
  • Has high genetic variability
Impact outcomes
  • Damaged ecosystem services
  • Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
  • Modification of nutrient regime
  • Modification of successional patterns
  • Monoculture formation
  • Negatively impacts forestry
  • Negatively impacts livelihoods
  • Reduced native biodiversity
  • Threat to/ loss of native species
  • Transportation disruption
Impact mechanisms
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Competition - shading
  • Hybridization
  • Rapid growth
  • Rooting
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately
  • Difficult to identify/detect in the field
  • Difficult/costly to control

Uses

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Economic Value

H. coccineum is widely commercialized as an ornamental. A study conducted by Sarangthem (2013) had the objective to assess, evaluate and prioritize the wild Hedychium resources of Manipur, India, thus establish a desirable potential germplasm for breeding and further biotechnological interventions. H. coccineum ranked third out of 11 because of its long spike of orange red flowers, but its lack of fragrance counted as a negative point in its ornamental value.

Social Benefit

Unlike some Hedychium species in India, H. coccineum is not much used other than as an ornamental but it is reported that some tribal peoples believe that a flower worn behind the ear is a powerful repellent against evil spirits (‘evil eye’) and disease (Johnson, 1999). Roots are allegedly used for headaches and the flowers pulped and applied to swollen body parts (Quattrocchi, 2012).

Uses List

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Environmental

  • Amenity
  • Landscape improvement

General

  • Botanical garden/zoo
  • Ritual uses
  • Sociocultural value

Materials

  • Essential oils

Medicinal, pharmaceutical

  • Source of medicine/pharmaceutical
  • Traditional/folklore

Ornamental

  • Cut flower
  • Potted plant
  • Propagation material
  • Seed trade

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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Hedychium coccineum has extensive synonymy (see identity section); some of the variants in leaf shape and flower colour have been treated as botanical varieties or even elevated to species in their own right. It is often suggested that these should be lumped together making no attempt to distinguish botanical varieties. Several forms have long been in cultivation and plants imported from Indian nurseries may be crosses between several forms (Browse McMillan, 2004). Hedychium ’kewense’ and Hedychium ‘raffillii’ have been assigned to Hedychium × moorei (the H. coccineum × H. gardnerianum hybrid) but are very similar to H. coccineum which has resulted in their being treated under that species at various times.

Prevention and Control

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Monitoring and surveillance

In July 2013, interim regulations and invasive species lists were published under the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act (NEMBA), Act 10 of 2004, proposing new legislation for H. coccineum as NEMBA – Category 1b. These are invasive species requiring compulsory control as part of an invasive species control programme and deemed to have such a high invasive potential that infestations can qualify to be placed under a government sponsored invasive species management programme.

H. coccineum is listed on the invasive alien plant list for La Réunion as defined by the Conservatoire Botanique National de Mascarin (CBNM), a conservatory which is involved in the management and monitoring of species and populations in their natural habitats, including the study and control of invasive plants which are recognized as one of the major threats to island native floras (Hankamer & Maunders, 1998).

Public awareness

Likely to be greater in countries where the potential impact of environmental weeds is more familiar (e.g. Australia and South Africa) however the status of H. coccineum as a popular garden or landscaping plants can make its harmfulness a more difficult message to convey.

Eradication

No specific mention of control or eradication attempts for H. coccineum other than elimination of a few individuals detected in Bébour near the river des Marsouins in 2006 in La Réunion, France (Groupe Espèces Invasives de La Réunion, 2014).

Control

Control is patchy and given its invasive potential, small infestations should perhaps be prioritized for control before the problem escalates.

Cultural control

Non-invasive substitutes should be used in gardens.

Physical/mechanical control

Hand pulling recommended in the Giba Gorge Environmental Plan (Giba Gorge Environmental Precinct, 2011) – Conservation Management Plan for KwaZulu-Natal Sandstone Sourveld grasslands, Scarp forests, wetlands and cliffs of Kwazulu Natal, South Africa.

Biological control

None specifically for H. coccineum but a biocontrol initiative by CABI for a consortium of funders from New Zealand and Hawaii, USA, for Hedychium gardnerianum is ongoing and records/specimens of insects and diseases associated with all Hedychium congeners are being collected as part of the project (Djeddour D, CABI, personal observation, 2014).

Chemical Control

Currently, the most effective herbicide reported for the control of H. coccineum is metsulfuron, sprayed on the leaves, stems and root system. Foliar applications of glyphosate and root applications of imazapyr have also been recommended for the control of this species in Brazil (I3N-Brasil, 2016).

Gaps in Knowledge/Research Needs

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It is probable that the naturalized distribution of H. coccineum is under-represented and information on environmental and economic impacts is lacking, even in areas where the plant is recorded as a noxious invasive. It is an emerging weed which is hugely adaptable and still well traded worldwide. Congeneric species with similar growth habit and spread have become highly aggressive invaders in many regions of the world and the potential for H. coccineum to become notorious in its own right, or by hybridizing with other naturalized Hedychium species, is very high.

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Links to Websites

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WebsiteURLComment
Comité français de l'Union Internationale pour la Conservation de la Nature en France. 2013. Les esphttp://www.especes-envahissantes-outremer.fr/autoComplete/index.php
GBIF - Hedychium coccineumhttp://www.gbif.org/species/2758716
Giba Gorge Environmental Precinct, 2011http://ggep.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/GGEP_managementplan_June20112.pdf
GISD/IASPMR: Invasive Alien Species Pathway Management Resource and DAISIE European Invasive Alien Species Gatewayhttps://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.m93f6Data source for updated system data added to species habitat list.
ISSG - Hedychium coccineumhttp://www.issg.org/database/species/ecology.asp?si=1308&fr=1&sts=&lang=EN
Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER) - Hedychium coccineumhttp://www.hear.org/pier/species/hedychium_coccineum.htm
USDA GRIN - Hedychium coccineumhttp://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/html/taxon.pl?18575

Contributors

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28/06/16 Updated by:

Julissa Rojas-Sandoval, Department of Botany-Smithsonian NMNH, Washington DC, USA

12/12/2014 Original text by:

Djamila Djeddour, CABI, UK

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