Invasive Species Compendium

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Datasheet

Zingiber officinale
(ginger)

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Datasheet

Zingiber officinale (ginger)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 16 November 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Host Plant
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Zingiber officinale
  • Preferred Common Name
  • ginger
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Monocotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • Z. officinale is a perennial herb widely cultivated in the tropics and which occasionally naturalizes. It mostly spreads vegetatively since many cultivars seldom flower or are sterile (

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Zingiber officinale (ginger); flowering habit. Hawaii Big Island, USA. Febuary 2004.
TitleFlowering habit
CaptionZingiber officinale (ginger); flowering habit. Hawaii Big Island, USA. Febuary 2004.
Copyright©Kowloonese/via wikipedia - CC BY-SA 3.0
Zingiber officinale (ginger); flowering habit. Hawaii Big Island, USA. Febuary 2004.
Flowering habitZingiber officinale (ginger); flowering habit. Hawaii Big Island, USA. Febuary 2004.©Kowloonese/via wikipedia - CC BY-SA 3.0
Zingiber officinale (ginger); habit. Bupyeong, Korea. October 2009.
TitleHabit
CaptionZingiber officinale (ginger); habit. Bupyeong, Korea. October 2009.
Copyright©Dalgial/via wikipedia - CC BY 3.0
Zingiber officinale (ginger); habit. Bupyeong, Korea. October 2009.
HabitZingiber officinale (ginger); habit. Bupyeong, Korea. October 2009.©Dalgial/via wikipedia - CC BY 3.0

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Zingiber officinale Roscoe

Preferred Common Name

  • ginger

Other Scientific Names

  • Amomum zingiber L. (1753)
  • Curcumia longifolia Wall.
  • Zingiber cholmondeleyi (F.M.Bailey) K.Schum.
  • Zingiber majus Rumph.
  • Zingiber missionis Wall.
  • Zingiber zingiber (L.) H. Karst.

International Common Names

  • English: common ginger; garden ginger; true ginger
  • Spanish: gengibre; Jengibre; jenjibre dulce; kion
  • French: gingembre; gingembre chinos
  • Chinese: jiang
  • Portuguese: gengibre-comum

Local Common Names

  • Bulgaria: dzhindzhifil
  • Cambodia: chnay; khnhei; khnhei phlung
  • Croatia: dumber
  • Ecuador: agiringuire; sacha ajo
  • French Polynesia: rea moru; rea tinito; re'a-ma'ohi; re'amoruru
  • Germany: Ingwer
  • Guam: asngod; hasngot
  • India: aale; ada; adi; adrak; adraka; adu; aduwa; alha; allam; inchi; inji; shing; shonti; shunthi; sunth
  • Indonesia: atuja; beuing; jae; jahe; jahi; lia
  • Italy: Zenzero
  • Japan: oshoga
  • Korea, Republic of: saeng gang
  • Laos: khi:ng
  • Malaysia: haliya; jahi
  • Morocco: kenjabil
  • Myanmar: gyin
  • Netherlands: djahe; Gember
  • Palau: kesol ra ngebard; sionga
  • Papua New Guinea: kawawar; kawawari
  • Philippines: baseng; laya; luya
  • Slovakia: dumbier lekartsvy
  • Sweden: Ingefaera
  • Thailand: khing; khing-daeng
  • Vietnam: cay gung

EPPO code

  • ZINOF (Zingiber officinale)

Summary of Invasiveness

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Z. officinale is a perennial herb widely cultivated in the tropics and which occasionally naturalizes. It mostly spreads vegetatively since many cultivars seldom flower or are sterile (Sutarno et al., 1999; Flowers of India, 2016). It is listed as invasive in Taiwan (Taiwan Invasive Species Database, 2016) and as a weed in Puerto Rico and Queensland, Australia (Randall, 2012). No information on impacts could be found.

Taxonomic Tree

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

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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Ginger (Zingiber officinale Rosc.) belongs to the family Zingiberaceae, in the order Zingiberales of monocotyledons, which is composed of 50 genera and around 1500 species of perennial tropical herbs. Various ginger types have been characterized in Malaysia, for example, the 'haliyabetai', the true ginger possessing pale-coloured rhizomes and the 'haliya bara' and 'haliya indang' with very pungent reddish rhizomes used primarily in medicine. Taxonomically, the two main groups can be named: Z. officinale cv. group Officinale, which is cultivated throughout the tropics, and Z. officinale cv. group Rubrum ('haliya padi'), grown on a small scale in South-East Asia for medicinal use and as a spice. The latter differs from the former by having smaller, red rhizomes with a stronger and more pungent odour, the red colouring of the basal parts of leafy stems and petioles, larger leaves and the presence of a larger, scarlet-red mottled labellum. In Indonesia, three types of ginger have been distinguished: 'jahegajah', 'jahebadak' or 'jaheputihbesar'; 'jahemerah' or 'jahesunti'; and 'jaheputihkecil' or 'jaheemprit'. Their rhizomes differ in shape, colour, aroma and chemical composition.

The English botanist William Roscoe gave the plant the name ‘Zingiber officinale’ in 1807. The name ‘Zingiber’ is via the Greek word ‘zingiberis’ derived from the Sanskrit word ‘shringavera’, which means ‘shaped like a deer’s antlers’; ‘officinale’ indicates medicinal properties of the plant.

Description

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Erect, slender, perennial herb usually grown as an annual crop, with a thickened, fleshy, subterranean rhizome and with one or more aerial leafy stems, up to 1.25 m tall. Rhizome robust fleshy, up to 2 cm thick, growing horizontally underground but at shallow depth, irregularly branched but normally only in the vertical plane, covered with deciduous, thin scales which leave ring-like scars; epidermis corky, pale yellow to reddish, irregularly wrinkled in the dried rhizome; flesh pale yellow, aromatic; on dried rhizomes scars of leafy stems visible as shallow cup-like holes. Stem erect, unbranched, mainly formed by the leaf sheaths, pale green, often reddish at base; scales covering the lower part oblong, about 6 cm x 1 cm, scarcely white-pilose outside, with prominent parallel veins and scarious margins. Leaves distichous; sheath prominently veined, densely appressed pilose, especially so in the upper part, with white, scarious, glabrous margins; ligule up to 5 mm long, bi-lobed, glabrous to sparsely pilose, scarious; blade linear to lanceolate, up to 30 cm x 2 cm, acuminate at apex, finely parallel-veined, glabrous above, scarcely pilose below, light to dark green. Inflorescence arises direct from rhizome, spiciform, 15-30 cm long; scape slender, 10-20 cm long, below the spike covered with scales as on the leafy stem bases, the upper ones sometimes with short leafy tips; spike ovoid to narrow ellipsoidal, 4-7 cm x 1.5-2.5 cm, light green; bracts appressed, ovate to elliptical, 2-3 cm x 1.5-2 cm, yellow-green, margin scarious, incurved, the lower ones with slender whitish acute tips, glabrous, finely parallel-lined; in the axil of each bract one flower may be produced; flowers fragile, short-lived, surrounded by a spatha-like bracteole; bracteole narrower and slightly longer than the bract, usually persisting and enclosing the fruit; calyx tubular-spathaceous, 10-12 mm long, whitish; corolla tubular, pale yellow, widening at top into 3 lobes, tube 18-25 mm long, dorsal lobe long ovate, 15-25 mm x 7-8 mm, with beak-like rounded apex curved over the anther, ventral lobes oblong, 13-15 mm x 2-3 mm, apex rounded, 3-veined, strongly recurved; labellum about circular in outline, 12-15 mm in diameter, tubular at base (tube 3 4 mm), 3-lobed above; central lobe obovate, 12 mm x 9 mm, side lobes elliptical, 5 mm x 3.5 mm labellum pale yellow outside, inside dark purple or red at top and at margins, mixed with yellowish spots, scattered pilose at throat; filament about 1.5 mm long, anther 2-celled, ellipsoidal, 7-9 mm x 3 mm, pale yellow, connectivum prolonged into a slender, curved, purple, beak-like appendage 7 mm long, enclosing the upper part of the style; ovary globose, 2 mm in diameter, 3-locular; style filiform, 3.5 cm long, white, slightly recurved and widening at top, ending in a funnel-shaped white stigma which is ringed with stiff hairs around its upper margin; 2-3 fleshy, sublinear, white nectaries, 5 mm long, are situated against the style on top of the ovary. Fruit a thin-walled capsule, 3-valved, red. Seed small, arillate, black.

Plant Type

Top of page Broadleaved
Herbaceous
Perennial
Vegetatively propagated

Distribution

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Originating in India or southeast Asia (Flora of North America Editorial Committee, 2016; Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, 2016), Z. officinale has been widely planted in tropical areas including other parts of Asia, the Caribbean, Central and South America, Australia, and Africa (Sutarno et al., 1999; Randall, 2012).

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

BangladeshPresentIntroducedRahman and Yusuf, 2013; Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, 2016
BhutanPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroduced Not invasive Prabhakaran Nair, 2013
CambodiaPresentIntroducedRoyal Botanic Gardens Kew, 2016
ChinaPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2016; Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, 2016South-Central
-AnhuiPresent only in captivity/cultivationFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2016
-FujianPresent only in captivity/cultivationFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2016
-GuangdongPresent only in captivity/cultivationFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2016
-GuangxiPresent only in captivity/cultivationFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2016
-GuizhouPresent only in captivity/cultivationFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2016
-HainanPresent only in captivity/cultivationFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2016
-HenanPresent only in captivity/cultivationFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2016
-HubeiPresent only in captivity/cultivationFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2016
-HunanPresent only in captivity/cultivationFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2016
-JiangxiPresent only in captivity/cultivationFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2016
-ShaanxiPresent only in captivity/cultivationFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2016
-ShandongPresent only in captivity/cultivationFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2016
-SichuanPresent only in captivity/cultivationFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2016
-YunnanPresent only in captivity/cultivationFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2016
-ZhejiangPresent only in captivity/cultivationFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2016
IndiaPresentNativeRoyal Botanic Gardens Kew, 2016
-Andaman and Nicobar IslandsPresentIntroducedRoyal Botanic Gardens Kew, 2016
-AssamPresentNativeRoyal Botanic Gardens Kew, 2016
-OdishaPresent only in captivity/cultivationNative Not invasive Indian Medicinal Plants Database, 2016
-Tamil NaduPresent only in captivity/cultivationNative Not invasive Indian Medicinal Plants Database, 2016
-TripuraPresent only in captivity/cultivationNative Not invasive Indian Medicinal Plants Database, 2016
-UttarakhandPresent only in captivity/cultivationNative Not invasive Indian Medicinal Plants Database, 2016
IndonesiaPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroduced Not invasive Sakamura and Suga, 1989
JapanPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroduced Not invasive Sakamura and Suga, 1989
Korea, Republic ofPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroduced Not invasive Prabhakaran Nair, 2013
MalaysiaPresentIntroducedRoyal Botanic Gardens Kew, 2016
MyanmarPresentIntroducedRoyal Botanic Gardens Kew, 2016
NepalPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroduced Not invasive Prabhakaran Nair, 2013
PakistanPresent only in captivity/cultivationFlora of Pakistan, 2016
PhilippinesPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroduced Not invasive Prabhakaran Nair, 2013
Sri LankaPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroduced Not invasive Prabhakaran Nair, 2013
TaiwanPresentIntroduced Invasive Taiwan Invasive Species Database, 2016
ThailandPresentNativeGBIF, 2016; Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, 2016
VietnamPresentIntroducedRoyal Botanic Gardens Kew, 2016

Africa

CameroonPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroduced Not invasive Prabhakaran Nair, 2013
Côte d'IvoirePresentGinger production (2008) 8,200 MT (F)
EthiopiaPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroduced Not invasive Geta and Kifle, 2011
GhanaPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroduced Not invasive Prabhakaran Nair, 2013
KenyaPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroduced Not invasive Prabhakaran Nair, 2013
MadagascarPresentIntroducedRoyal Botanic Gardens Kew, 2016
MauritiusPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroduced Not invasive Prabhakaran Nair, 2013
NigeriaPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroduced1927 Not invasive Prabhakaran Nair, 2013
RéunionPresentIntroducedRoyal Botanic Gardens Kew, 2016
Rodriguez IslandPresentIntroducedRoyal Botanic Gardens Kew, 2016
Sierra LeonePresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroduced Not invasive Sakamura and Suga, 1989
UgandaPresentGinger production (2008) 120 MT (F)
ZambiaPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedBingham et al., 2016

North America

MexicoWidespreadIntroducedVillaseñor and Espinosa-Garcia, 2004
USAPresentGinger production (2008) 1,270 MT (F)
-FloridaPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroduced Not invasive Stephens, 2015
-HawaiiPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroduced Not invasive Nishina et al., 1992

Central America and Caribbean

BelizePresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroduced Not invasive Flora Mesoamericana, 2016
Costa RicaPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroduced Not invasive Flora Mesoamericana, 2016
CubaPresentIntroducedHammer et al., 1991; Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
DominicaPresentGinger production (2008) 145 MT (F)
Dominican RepublicPresentIntroducedRoyal Botanic Gardens Kew, 2016
El SalvadorPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroduced Not invasive Flora Mesoamericana, 2016
GrenadaPresentGinger production (2008) 0 MT (M)
GuatemalaPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedStandley and Steyermark, 1952
HondurasPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedMolina Rosito, 1975
JamaicaPresentGinger production (2008) 298 MT
NicaraguaPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroduced Not invasive Flora Mesoamericana, 2016
PanamaPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroduced Not invasive Flora Mesoamericana, 2016
Puerto RicoLocalisedIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
Saint LuciaPresentGinger production (2008) 70 MT (F)
Trinidad and TobagoPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedPrabhakaran Nair, 2013
United States Virgin IslandsPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012

South America

GuyanaPresentGinger production (2008) 520 MT (F)

Oceania

AustraliaLocalisedIntroducedCouncil of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, 2016
-QueenslandPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroduced1920 Not invasive Prabhakaran Nair, 2013; Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, 2016
FijiPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroduced1890 Not invasive Prabhakaran Nair, 2013
French PolynesiaPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedWagner and Lorence, 2016Nuku Hiva, Hiva Oa
GuamPresentIntroducedWagner et al., 2016
Micronesia, Federated states ofPresentIntroducedWagner et al., 2016
NauruPresentIntroducedWagner et al., 2016

History of Introduction and Spread

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Z. officinale is thought to have originated in southeast Asia (Flora of North America Editorial Committee, 2016). It has been grown throughout tropical Asia “since ancient times” (Sutarno et al., 1999). Arab traders carried it to Europe and East Africa in the 13th and 14th centuries and the Portuguese brought it to West Africa in the 16th century (Sutarno et al., 1999). The Spanish brought ginger to the Caribbean and Central America in the 1500s (Sutarno et al., 1999; NTBG, 2016). Additional introductions have been made as countries attempted to cultivate ginger on a larger scale (Ravindran and Babu, 2005). Plants occasionally naturalize from cultivated plants (Randall, 2012).

Introductions

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Introduced toIntroduced fromYearReasonIntroduced byEstablished in wild throughReferencesNotes
Natural reproductionContinuous restocking
Australia 1920 Crop production (pathway cause) Yes No Prabhakaran Nair (2013)
Fiji India 1890 Crop production (pathway cause) No No Prabhakaran Nair (2013)
Nigeria 1927 Crop production (pathway cause) No No Prabhakaran Nair (2013)
Ethiopia India 1200s Crop production (pathway cause) No No Prabhakaran Nair (2013)

Habitat

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May have originated as part of the ground flora of tropical lowland forests of southeast Asia or India (Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, 2016). Cultivated plants require well drained, loamy soils (Sutarno et al., 1999) and hot, humid conditions (Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, 2016).

Most Ecuadorian and Central American herbarium records list specimens as occurring under cultivation or in disturbed forests near villages (Vascular Plants of Ecuador, 2016; Flora Mesoamericana, 2016). Noted as naturalized in Central Africa (Randall, 2012), but as plants are often cultivated in forests, it is difficult to distinguish whether plants are cultivated or if they have escaped cultivation.

Habitat List

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CategorySub-CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Terrestrial
 
Terrestrial – ManagedCultivated / agricultural land Principal habitat Productive/non-natural
Protected agriculture (e.g. glasshouse production) Secondary/tolerated habitat Productive/non-natural
Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalNatural forests Principal habitat Natural
Natural forests Principal habitat Productive/non-natural

Biology and Ecology

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Genetics

Most cultivated varieties are sterile (Flowers of India, 2016; Ravindran and Babu, 2005). Chromosome numbers 2n=22 (Ravindran and Babu, 2005). Different cultivars vary in karyotype (Ravindran and Babu, 2005).

Growth and Development

The first shoots of ginger appear 10-15 days after planting the rhizomes and new shoots appear continuously until about 4 weeks months after planting. Each shoot has about 8-12 leaves.

Flowering is cultivar-dependent. Some cultivars flower rarely, others regularly, especially when grown undisturbed as perennials. In Malaysia, ginger flowers only rarely. Ginger fruits are seldom produced.

Ginger rhizomes normally only branch in the vertical plane, so they are flat on the sides and stand upright in the soil. They have a main axis, with at least one side axis to the left and the right, with these side axes again forming two side axes, etc. Only some of the side axes develop aboveground shoots.

Ecology

Ginger is grown in the tropics from sea-level up to 1500 m altitude, but is mostly found at low altitudes. The crop prefers warm, sunny conditions, and though it may benefit from shade during hot periods, especially when young, shading is generally considered unnecessary. The optimum rainfall is 2500-3000 mm, well distributed over the year. Below 2000 mm, supplementary irrigation is necessary, but ginger seldom succeeds as an irrigated crop in dry areas, because the required humidity cannot be maintained profitably. Ginger is very sensitive to water logging.

The preferred soils are medium loams with an adequate supply of organic matter, but ginger is grown on a wide range of soils with a pH of 6.0-7.0. As it is an exhaustive crop, the soil fertility must be high or manure should be applied.

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]))
Aw - Tropical wet and dry savanna climate Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in winter) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
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)
Cf - Warm temperate climate, wet all year Tolerated Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, wet all year

Latitude/Altitude Ranges

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Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)
35 30

Air Temperature

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Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Absolute minimum temperature (ºC) 0
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 20 30
Mean maximum temperature of hottest month (ºC) 33 38
Mean minimum temperature of coldest month (ºC) 16 20

Rainfall

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ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Dry season duration02number of consecutive months with <40 mm rainfall
Mean annual rainfall25003000mm; lower/upper limits

Rainfall Regime

Top of page Uniform

Soil Tolerances

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Soil drainage

  • free

Soil reaction

  • neutral

Soil texture

  • light
  • medium

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Chaeridiona mayuri Herbivore Leaves not specific
Conogethes punctiferalis Herbivore Stems not specific
Ostrinia furnacalis Herbivore Stems not specific

Notes on Natural Enemies

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In cultivation, “the most important diseases are rhizome rots, often caused by Pythium spp., Fusarium spp. and Rosellinia spp.” (Sutarno et al., 1999). Two shoot borers, Conogethes punctiferalis and Ostrinia furnacalis attack ginger plants. Leaf spots caused by Colletotrichum spp., Helminthosporum spp., Cercospora spp. and Septoria spp. are common. Root feeding nematodes Meloidogyne spp. also cause crop damage (Sutarno et al., 1999). A strain of Ralstonia solanacearum attacks ginger (CABI, 2016). Chaeridionamayuri beetles attack leaves of ginger (Shameem and Prathapan, 2014). Nishina et al. (1992) lists numerous pests and diseases that occur in Hawaii.

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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Ginger has been intentionally introduced throughout the humid tropics as a crop (Sutarno et al., 1999).

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Crop productionMajor export crop Yes Yes

Impact Summary

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CategoryImpact
Positive
Positive
Positive

Environmental Impact

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Presumably because this species is listed as invasive in Taiwan and weedy elsewhere (Randall, 2012) it is likely to form dense enough stands to alter habitat. However, no evidence could be found to support impacts to habitat or biodiversity.

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Abundant in its native range
  • Tolerant of shade
  • Fast growing
  • Reproduces asexually
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately

Uses

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Ginger is widely used as a spice, with its three main products being fresh ('green') ginger, dried whole or powdered ginger, and preserved ginger. Fresh ginger is prepared from immature or mature rhizomes, the more pungent and aromatic dried ginger from mature rhizomes, and preserved ginger from immature rhizomes. The dried and preserved products are the major forms of internationally traded ginger, whereas fresh ginger is the major form of ginger consumed in the producing regions.

Fresh ginger is widely used in cooking in South-East Asia, as a flavouring or vegetable, and young rhizomes and stem parts are sometimes eaten raw, for example, as 'lalab'. Fresh ginger is also used to make ginger ale and other drinks. Ground dried ginger is applied worldwide for domestic culinary purposes, and also extensively in the flavouring of processed foods, especially in bakery products and desserts. Preserved ginger is used for domestic culinary purposes and in the production of processed foods such as jams, marmalades, cakes and confectioneries.

The fresh and dried rhizomes yield an essential oil ('ginger oil') and oleoresin ('ginger extract'). Ginger oil has the aroma and flavour of the spice, but lacks pungency. It is used for flavouring beverages, in confectionery, and in cosmetics, perfumes and pharmaceuticals. Ginger oleoresin has the aroma, flavour and pungency of the spice itself. It is used for flavouring beverages and for similar purposes as the ground spice. It is seldom applied in cosmetics and perfumes because of its poor solubility in alcohol, but is used more often in pharmaceuticals. In the USA the regulatory status 'generally recognized as safe' has been accorded to ginger (GRAS 2520), ginger oil (GRAS 2522) and ginger extract/oleoresin (GRAS 2521/2523).

Ginger has been used medicinally in Asia since ancient times, for example, in China and India. It is still widely used in folk medicine, especially as a carminative, stimulant of the gastro-intestinal tract, rubefacient and counter-irritant. In Asia, the rhizome is also considered to have diaphoretic, diuretic, anti-inflammatory, anti-emetic and sialagogic properties, and it is used as an emmenagogue, abortifacient and vermifuge, whereas it also had a reputation as an aphrodisiac. Rhizome products are applied against a wide range of ailments, including nausea, diarrhoea, dysentery, dyspepsia, flatulence and other gastrointestinal problems, fever, cough, colds, congestion of the chest, pleurisy, cramps and dropsy. Rhizome juice is used against migraine, catarrh, colic and to relieve menstrual cramps. Crushed rhizomes are applied externally against headache, toothache, rheumatism, intestinal problems, itch, boils and swellings. Various lotions, decoctions or poultices are rubbed on the body after childbirth, applied to swellings and bruises, used against rheumatism and to make baths against fever. In Malaysia, leaves are eaten against stomach ache and rheumatism, pounded leaves are used externally for poulticing to treat headache, leaf juice is applied externally against ague in children, and young shoots may be used for lotions against rheumatism. In the Philippines, ginger tea is traditionally drunk to prevent hoarseness. Chinese sailors ate ginger to avoid sea sickness. Ginger is also applied as an antidote against snake poison in Indonesia, and fish and crab poison in China.

With regard to the medicinal properties, ginger exhibits antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory activity, helps reduce cholesterol, lower blood pressure and shrink liver tumour in test animals. In humans, rhizome powder is effective against nausea, for example, post-operative nausea, motion sickness and morning sickness. The principles responsible for this anti-emetic activity might be [6]-, [8]- and [10]-shogaols and [6]-, [8]- and [10]-gingerols. Ethanolic rhizome extracts have shown inhibition of skin tumour promotion in mice. Zingiberene, beta-sesquiphellandrene, ar-curcumene and [6]-shogaol show anti-ulcer principles. Furthermore, [6]-gingerol has been shown to be a cholagogue after intraperitoneal administration in rats, and [8]-gingerol to have hepatoprotective activity, as it prevents the toxic effects of carbon tetrachloride in rat hepatocytes.

Ginger oil has considerable antifungal and antibacterial activity, and is used as a seed dressing in India. Meat cooked with fresh rhizomes becomes more tender due to the action of the proteolytic enzyme zingibain.

Ginger products, mainly the oleoresin, are official in several European pharmacopoeias and are used as ingredients in digestive, laxative, antitussive, carminative, antacid and anti-emetic preparations.

Environmental Services

Could potentially be used as an attractant in traps to trap Gambian rats (Cricetomys gambianus) in Florida (Witmer et al., 2010).

Uses List

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Animal feed, fodder, forage

  • Bait/attractant

General

  • Sociocultural value

Human food and beverage

  • Spices and culinary herbs
  • Vegetable

Materials

  • Essential oils

Medicinal, pharmaceutical

  • Source of medicine/pharmaceutical
  • Traditional/folklore

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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Zingiber zerumbet has a similar appearance, but the flowers grow in cone-shaped spikes resembling pine cones and the leaves are wider, 3-8.5 cm (Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2005).

Gaps in Knowledge/Research Needs

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Although ginger is listed on the Taiwan Invasive Species Database (2016), no information is available on its impacts or methods of control where it has escaped from cultivation.

Bibliography

Top of page Aycardo HB, 1979. Production for fresh market and processing. In: Bautista OK, Aycardo HB (Eds). Ginger: production, handling, processing, marketing. Department of Horticulture, College of Agriculture, University of the Philippines at Los Banos, the Philippines, 1 23.

Lawrence BM, 1997. Progress in essential oils. Perfumer and Flavorist, 22(5):71-83.

Dake GN, 1995. Diseases of ginger (Zingiber officinale Rosc.) and their management. Journal of Spices and Aromatic Crops 4: 40-48.

Leung AY, Foster S, 1996. Encyclopedia of common natural ingredients used in food, drugs and cosmetics. 2nd edition. New York, Usa: John Wiley & Sons, 271-274.

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Perry LM, 1980. Medicinal plants of East and Southeast Asia. Attributed properties and uses. Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA:. The MIT Press.

Sakamura F, Suga, 1989. Zingiber officinale Roscoe (ginger): in vitro propagation and the production of volatile constituents. In: Bajaj YPS (Ed). Biotechnology in agriculture and forestry. Vol. 7. Medicinal and aromatic plants 2. Berlin, Germany: Springer Verlag, 524-538.

Smith MK, Hamill SD, 1996. Field evaluation of micropropagated and conventionally propagated ginger in subtropical Queensland. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture, 36:347-354.

Theilade I, 1996. Revision of the genus Zingiber in Peninsular Malaysia. The Gardens' Bulletin Singapore, 48(1-2):207-236.

Weiss EA, 1997. Essential oil crops. Wallingford, Oxon, UK: CAB International, 539-567.

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Links to Websites

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WebsiteURLComment
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.

Contributors

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01/06/2016 Updated by:

Sylvan Kaufman, Sylvan Green Earth Consulting, Santa Fe, USA

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