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Datasheet

Alpinia purpurata (red ginger)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 15 November 2017
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Host Plant
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Alpinia purpurata
  • Preferred Common Name
  • red ginger
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Monocotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • A. purpurata is an ornamental herb listed as a “cultivation escape” in the Global Compendium of Weeds (Randall, 2012...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Alpinea purpurata (red ginger) growing in Puerto Rico
TitleHabit
CaptionAlpinea purpurata (red ginger) growing in Puerto Rico
Copyright©Smithsonian Institution/P. Acevedo
Alpinea purpurata (red ginger) growing in Puerto Rico
HabitAlpinea purpurata (red ginger) growing in Puerto Rico©Smithsonian Institution/P. Acevedo
Habit of Alpinia purpurata (red ginger)
TitleHabit
CaptionHabit of Alpinia purpurata (red ginger)
Copyright©Smithsonian Institution/P. Acevedo
Habit of Alpinia purpurata (red ginger)
HabitHabit of Alpinia purpurata (red ginger)©Smithsonian Institution/P. Acevedo
Alpinia purpurata (red ginger); growing in Puerto Rico, showing flowers and foliage
TitleFlower spike and foliage
CaptionAlpinia purpurata (red ginger); growing in Puerto Rico, showing flowers and foliage
Copyright©Smithsonian Institution/P. Acevedo
Alpinia purpurata (red ginger); growing in Puerto Rico, showing flowers and foliage
Flower spike and foliageAlpinia purpurata (red ginger); growing in Puerto Rico, showing flowers and foliage©Smithsonian Institution/P. Acevedo

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Alpinia purpurata (Vieill.) K. Schum., 1904

Preferred Common Name

  • red ginger

Variety

  • Alpinia purpurata var. albobracteata
  • Alpinia purpurata var. anomala
  • Alpinia purpurata var. grandis

Other Scientific Names

  • Alpinia grandis K.Schum.
  • Guillainia novo-ebudica F.Muell.
  • Guillainia purpurata Vieill.
  • Languas purpurata (Vieill.) Kaneh.

International Common Names

  • English: ginger lily; jungle king; ostrich plume; pink cone ginger
  • Spanish: ginger rojo; jenjibre cimarrón; jenjibre rojo

Local Common Names

  • Cuba: alpinia
  • Fiji: thevunga
  • French Polynesia: opuhi uteute
  • Germany: Scharlachrote Alpinie
  • Samoa: teuila
  • Tonga: tevula

EPPO code

  • AIIPU (Alpinia purpurata)

Summary of Invasiveness

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A. purpurata is an ornamental herb listed as a “cultivation escape” in the Global Compendium of Weeds (Randall, 2012). It has been actively introduced as an ornamental in gardens and yards throughout the tropics. A. purpurata spreads by seeds and by rhizome division and has the potential to grow forming dense thickets, principally in moist habitats. It is listed as invasive in Cuba and on several Pacific islands including Hawaii, Fiji, Micronesia, Guam, Palau, and Tonga (Space and Flynn, 2002; Space and Imalda, 2004).

Taxonomic Tree

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

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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The family Zingiberaceae includes approximately 52 genera and 1340 species. Members of this family are perennial herbs, mostly with creeping horizontal or tuberous rhizomes, generally aromatic and rich in starch (Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2005). Zingiberaceae, also known as “the ginger family” is a pantropical family of plants with the centre of distribution in Southeastern Asia (with 80-90% of the taxa). The genus Alpinia is the largest and most widespread genus in the Zingiberaceae with about 230 species occurring from Sri Lanka to China, Japan, Southeastern Asia, the Pacific Islands (i.e., Fiji, Samoa, and Caroline Islands), and Australia (i.e., New South Wales; Kress et al., 2005).

Description

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Robust aromatic herb, leafy shoots 1-5 m tall (up to 7 m tall in cultivated forms). Leaves oblong, 30-80 cm long, 10-22 cm wide, glabrous, apex short acuminate, sessile, ligules unequally 2-lobed, 7-20 mm long, pubescent, sheaths pubescent at apex and along margins. Inflorescences terminal on leafy shoots, unbranched (occasionally branched in cultivated forms), basically cylindrical, 15-30 cm long, usually elongating considerably with age, primary bracts usually red (occasionally pink or white in cultivated forms), ovate or broadly obovate, 2.5-3 cm long at anthesis, elongating to 4-6 cm long in fruit, apex mucronate, persistent, rachis glabrous, or rarely pubescent, bracteoles reddish, tubular, 6-10 mm long, with a subapical spur; floral tube 2-2.7 mm long; calyx reddish, 1.7-2.7 cm long, glabrous, each lobe with a subapical spur; corolla white, exserted just beyond primary bracts; labellum white, with 2 distinct lateral lobes and a central segment that is distinctly 3-lobed or subentire, about as long as corolla lobes; stamen 6-7 mm long; ovary 3-4 mm long, glabrous. Fruits are capsules nearly globose, 2-3 cm in diameter. Seeds approximately 3 mm long, angled (Wagner et al., 1999).

Plant Type

Top of page Herbaceous
Perennial
Seed propagated
Vegetatively propagated

Distribution

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A. purpurata is native to Malesia (Papua New Guinea) and the Southwestern Pacific (New Caledonia, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu). It has been widely cultivated in the tropics as an ornamental (USDA-ARS, 2012; Govaerts, 2013).

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

Indonesia
-MoluccasPresentNativeGovaerts, 2013
SingaporePresentIntroducedChong et al., 2009Cultivated
ThailandPresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2013

North America

MexicoPresentIntroducedGarcía-Mendoza and Meave, 2011Chiapas, Oaxaca
USA
-HawaiiPresentIntroduced Invasive Wagner et al., 1999

Central America and Caribbean

Antigua and BarbudaPresentIntroducedBroome et al., 2007
BarbadosPresentIntroducedBroome et al., 2007
Costa RicaPresentIntroducedHammel et al., 2003Cultivated as ornamental
CubaPresentIntroduced Invasive González-Torres et al., 2012
DominicaPresentIntroducedBroome et al., 2007
Dominican RepublicPresent only in captivity/cultivationAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
GrenadaPresentIntroducedBroome et al., 2007
HaitiPresent only in captivity/cultivationAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
HondurasPresentIntroducedMolina, 1975
MartiniquePresentIntroducedBroome et al., 2007
Netherlands AntillesPresentIntroducedBroome et al., 2007St. Martin
NicaraguaPresentIntroducedMaas and Kamer, 2001
PanamaPresentIntroducedCorrea et al., 2004
Puerto RicoLocalisedIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2005; Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012Spreading in the Luquillo Mountains Reserve. (Acevedo-Rodríguez, pers. com)
Saint Kitts and NevisPresentIntroducedBroome et al., 2007
Saint LuciaPresentIntroducedBroome et al., 2007
Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesPresentIntroducedBroome et al., 2007
United States Virgin IslandsPresent only in captivity/cultivationAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012St. Croix

South America

ColombiaPresentIntroducedIdárraga-Piedrahita et al., 2011
EcuadorPresentIntroducedJørgensen and León-Yànez, 1999
PeruPresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2013

Oceania

Cook IslandsPresentIntroducedSpace and Flynn, 2002
FijiPresentIntroduced Invasive Space and Imada, 2004
French PolynesiaPresentIntroducedFlorence et al., 2011
GuamPresentIntroduced Invasive Space and Imada, 2004
Marshall IslandsPresentIntroduced Invasive Space and Imada, 2004
Micronesia, Federated states ofPresentIntroduced Invasive Space and Imada, 2004Nauru
NauruPresentIntroducedFosberg et al., 1987
New CaledoniaPresentNativeGovaerts, 2013
NiuePresentIntroducedSpace et al., 2004
Northern Mariana IslandsPresentIntroducedFosberg et al., 1987
PalauPresentIntroduced Invasive Space et al., 2003
Papua New GuineaPresentNativeGovaerts, 2013
SamoaPresentIntroduced Invasive Space and Flynn, 2002
Solomon IslandsPresentNativeGovaerts, 2013
TongaPresentIntroduced Invasive Space and Imada, 2004
VanuatuPresentNativeGovaerts, 2013

History of Introduction and Spread

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A. purpurata has been actively introduced as an ornamental and cut-flower plant in tropical regions. In Hawaii, it was introduced as an ornamental as early as 1928 (Wagner et al., 1999). For the West Indies, the year of introduction of this species is uncertain. The first report for the West Indies was made in 1952 for the island of Cuba (Women’s Club of Havana Garden Section, 1952). Later, by 1974, R.A. Howard reported this species for the Lesser Antilles (Howard, 1974). In Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands it is commonly planted in gardens and yards throughout the islands (Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2005). 

Risk of Introduction

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A. purpurata has been widely planted as an ornamental in tropical regions and has escaped from gardens and yards, principally invading moist habitats (Wagner et al., 1999; Space et al., 2003; Space and Imada, 2004). A. purpurata is an important ornamental species and it is still sold in the nursery and landscape trade around the world; thus the probability of invasion of this species remains high.

Habitat

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A. purpurata is commonly planted for ornamental purposes throughout the tropics and it can persist in some areas such as urban forests, abandoned gardens and old yards. Under natural conditions, it can be found growing in moist secondary forests, moist roadsides, riverbanks, edges of mangrove swamps, and wetlands (Wagner et al., 1999; Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2005). In Puerto Rico, it has been recorded at the edges of rainforests in El Yunque National Forest (Acevedo-Rodríguez, personal observation).

Habitat List

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CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Littoral
Mangroves Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Mangroves Present, no further details Natural
Terrestrial-managed
Urban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Urban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details Natural
Urban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Terrestrial-natural/semi-natural
Natural forests Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Natural forests Present, no further details Natural
Riverbanks Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Riverbanks Present, no further details Natural
Wetlands Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Wetlands Present, no further details Natural

Biology and Ecology

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Genetics

A study using plants from Thailand showed that the chromosome number in A. purpurata is 2n = 48 (Eksomtramage et al., 2002). 

Environmental Requirements

A. purpurata prefers to grow in moist areas from low to middle elevation forests with warm temperatures and high precipitation regimes. It grows best in partially shaded areas, but it is also adapted to grow in shaded areas as well as in open areas with full sunlight (Wagner et al., 1999; Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2005; Kress et al., 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 Preferred < 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])

Air Temperature

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Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Absolute minimum temperature (ºC) 2

Rainfall

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ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Mean annual rainfall8004000mm; lower/upper limits

Rainfall Regime

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Soil Tolerances

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Soil drainage

  • free
  • seasonally waterlogged

Soil reaction

  • neutral

Soil texture

  • light
  • medium

Special soil tolerances

  • shallow

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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A. purpurata spreads by seeds and by rhizome division (Wagner et al., 1999; Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2005).

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Garden waste disposalRhizomes Yes Yes Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2005
Nursery tradeOrnamental Yes Yes
Ornamental purposes Yes Yes Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2005

Impact Summary

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

Environmental Impact

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A. purpurata is able to grow forming dense thickets and displacing native vegetation principally in moist habitats such as riverbanks, edges of wetlands and mangroves, and the understory of moist secondary forests (Space and Flynn, 2002; Space et al., 2003; Space and Imada, 2004).

Risk and Impact Factors

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Impact mechanisms

  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Competition - shading
  • Competition - smothering
  • Rapid growth
  • Rooting

Impact outcomes

  • Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
  • Monoculture formation
  • Reduced native biodiversity
  • Threat to/ loss of endangered species
  • Threat to/ loss of native species

Invasiveness

  • Benefits from human association (i.e. it is a human commensal)
  • Fast growing
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Reproduces asexually
  • Tolerant of shade
  • Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc

Likelihood of entry/control

  • Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally illegally

Uses

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A. purpurata is an important ornamental plant widely cultivated in tropical areas (Kress et al., 2005).

Uses List

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Environmental

  • Amenity

General

  • Ornamental

Ornamental

  • Cut flower
  • Potted plant
  • Propagation material

Gaps in Knowledge/Research Needs

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For A. purpurata it is highly recommended to gather information in the following areas:

  1. History of introduction.
  2. Reproductive biology and breeding system.
  3. Impact of this species on native plants and natural communities
  4. Recommendations for management and control in natural areas.

References

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Acevedo-Rodríguez P; Strong MT, 2005. Monocots and Gymnosperms of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Contributions from the United States National Herbarium, volume 52:415 pp.

Acevedo-Rodríguez P; Strong MT, 2012. Catalogue of the Seed Plants of the West Indies. Smithsonian Contributions to Botany, 98:1192 pp. Washington DC, USA: Smithsonian Institution. http://botany.si.edu/Antilles/WestIndies/catalog.htm

Broome R; Sabir K; Carrington S, 2007. Plants of the Eastern Caribbean. Online database. Barbados: University of the West Indies. http://ecflora.cavehill.uwi.edu/index.html

Chong KY; Tan HTW; Corlett RT, 2009. A checklist of the total vascular plant flora of Singapore. National University of Singapore, Singapore: Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, 273 pp.

Correa A; Galdames MDC; Stapf MNS, 2004. Catalogue of vascular plants of Panama (Catalogo de Plantas Vasculares de Panama.), Panama: Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, 599 pp.

Eksomtramage L; Sirirugsa P; Jivanit P; Maknoi C, 2002. Chromosome counts of some zingiberaceous species from Thailand. Songklanakarin Journal of Science and Technology, 24:311-319.

Florence J; Chevillotte H; Ollier C; Meyer JY, 2011. [English title not available]. (Base de données botaniques Nadeaud de l'Herbier de la Polynésie Française (PAP).) . http://www.herbier-tahiti.pf

Fosberg FR; Sachet M-H; Oliver R, 1987. A geographical checklist of the Micronesian monocotyledonae. Micronesia 20: 1-2, 19-129.

García-Mendoza AJ; Meave Castillo JAdel, 2011. Diversidad Florística de Oaxaca: de musgos a angiospermas ([English title not available])., México: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 351 pp.

González-Torres LR; Rankin R; Palmarola A (eds), 2012. Invasive plants in Cuba. (Plantas Invasoras en Cuba.) Bissea: Boletin sobre Conservacion de Plantad del Jardin Botanico Nacional, 6:1-140.

Govaerts R, 2013. World Checklist of Zingiberaceae. Richmond, London: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/

Hammel BE; Grayum MH; Herrera C; Zamora N, 2003. Manual de plantas de Costa Rica v. 3. Monocotyledoneas (Orchidaceae-Zingiberaceae). St. Louis, Missouri, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden.

Howard RA, 1974. Flora of the Lesser Antilles, 1-6. Jamaica Plain, MA, USA: Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University.

Idárraga-Piedrahita A; Ortiz RDC; Callejas Posada R; Merello M, 2011. Flora of Antioquia. (Flora de Antioquia.) Catálogo de las Plantas Vasculares, vol. 2. Listado de las Plantas Vasculares del Departamento de Antioquia:939 pp.

Jørgensen PM; León-Yànez S, 1999. Catalogue of the vascular plants of Ecuador. Monogr. Syst. Bot. Missouri Bot. Gard, 75. i-viii, 1-1182.

Kress WJ; Liu AZ; Newman M; Li QingJun, 2005. The molecular phylogeny of Alpinia (Zingiberaceae): a complex and polyphyletic genus of gingers. American Journal of Botany, 92(1):167-178. http://www.amjbot.org/

Maas PJM; Kamer HM, 2001. Zingiberaceae. Monographs in Systematic Botany from the Missouri Botanical Garden, 85(3):2549-2554. [Flora de Nicaragua.]

Molina RA, 1975. Enumeration of the plants of Honduras. (Enumeración de las plantas de Honduras) Ceiba, 19(1):1-118.

Oviedo Prieto R; Herrera Oliver P; Caluff MG, et al. , 2012. National list of invasive and potentially invasive plants in the Republic of Cuba - 2011. (Lista nacional de especies de plantas invasoras y potencialmente invasoras en la República de Cuba - 2011). Bissea: Boletín sobre Conservación de Plantas del Jardín Botánico Nacional de Cuba, 6(Special Issue 1):22-96.

Randall RP, 2012. A Global Compendium of Weeds. Perth, Australia: Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia, 1124 pp. http://www.cabi.org/isc/FullTextPDF/2013/20133109119.pdf

Space JC; Flynn T, 2002. Report to the Government of Samoa on invasive plant species of environmental concern. Hawaii, USA: USDA Forest Service, Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry, 80 pp.

Space JC; Flynn T, 2002b. Report to the Government of the Cook Islands on invasive plant species of environmental concern. Honolulu, Hawaii, USA: USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest Research Station, Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry, 148 pp. http://www.hear.org/pier/pdf/cook_islands_report.pdf

Space JC; Imada CT, 2004. Report to the Republic of Kiribati on invasive plant species on the islands of Tarawa, Abemama, Butaritari and Maiana. Cont. no. 2003-006 to the Pac. Biol. Surv. USDA Forest Service and Bishop Museum, Honolulu.

Space JC; Waterhouse BM; Miles JE; Tiobech J; Rengulbai K, 2003. Report to the Republic of Palau on invasive plant species of environmental concern. Honolulu, USA: USDA Forest Service.

Space JC; Waterhouse BM; Newfield M; Bull C, 2004. Report to the Government of Niue and the United Nations Development Programme: Invasive plant species on Niue following Cyclone Heta. 80 pp. [UNDP NIU/98/G31 - Niue Enabling Activity.] http://www.hear.org/pier/reports/niue_report_2004.htm

USDA-ARS, 2012. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Online Database. Beltsville, Maryland, USA: National Germplasm Resources Laboratory. https://npgsweb.ars-grin.gov/gringlobal/taxon/taxonomysearch.aspx

Wagner WL; Herbst DR; Sohmer SH, 1999. Manual of the flowering plants of Hawaii. Revised edition. Honolulu, Hawaii, USA: University of Hawaii Press/Bishop Museum Press, 1919 pp.

Women's Club of Havana Garden Section, 1952. Flowering plants from Cuban gardens. New York, USA: Criterion Books, 365 pp.

Contributors

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13/05/13 Original text by:

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

Pedro Acevedo-Rodríguez, Department of Botany-Smithsonian NMNH, Washington DC, USA

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