Monday, May 6, 2013

Plant Images: Shellplant (Alpinia zerumbet) in Bloom

Also Known as Shell Ginger


Research on this flower led me to the School of Chinese Medicine.

That's because Mrs. RyukyuMike made all kinds of claims about the stuff.

Sannin (Okinawan dialect) or Gettoo (Japanese) is a well known and popular herb.

Shellplant flowers and leaves

She says, it keeps snakes away.  And I say the dogs can do that.

shellplant in jungle
It keeps bugs away, too.

Well, I wonder why there's so many snakes and bugs in the jungle, then.

That's where I first noticed these white flowers blooming; in the dang jungles.

Spiders, snakes, gnats, mosquitoes, butterflies and all kinds of critters live in the jungle.

Shell Ginger, Alpinia zerumbet, flowers and plant
And, she tells me when you're 64, in Okinawa, you should eat mochi wrapped in those leaves.

I don't really like that sticky rice-paste-tasting stuff.

It reminds me of the slimy wallpaper paste they used before wood paneling was invented.

Anyway, I told her, it's too late.  I'm already 65 !

Thinking she's just trying to get me wasting money on another plant, I grabbed a camera and left.

Shellplant flowers and leaves

They have these plants in lots of yards around my neighborhood.

So, I shot some with the Canon G12 handheld.

close up of Shell Ginger flowers and leaves

Some folks think the flowers look like seashells.

Shellplant flower pod opening

Here's one I found, just starting to open.

China Already Rules Half the World


And, I just learned, they have more English speaking people than the USA.

So, I Googled "Alpinia zerumbet, Plant, China, English" just for the heck of it. 

Bingo !

It got me into the Hong Kong Baptist University Library. The site is in English.

They use the shellplant to cure all kinds of things.

Malaria, belly aches, bad hearts, gas, the screaming willies, you name it and they have a cure.

Not to appear as some sort of traitor, I got the USDA site.

That's the United States Department of Agriculture and they speak English, too. 

Another great place to learn about these flowers is Dave's Garden.

Now, I have to pack-up and hit the trail.

Somewhere out there, one of these plants is waiting for me to dig it up and bring it home.

There's no sense letting the wife waste good beer money to buy one !

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