Hidden Ginger, Jewel of Thailand, etc.
Curcuma petiolata Roxb. is the correct and accepted scientific name of the Hidden Ginger. It was first described by William Roxburgh in Flora Indica in 1820.
In October 2011, a good friend and fellow plant collector Walley Morse gave me my first Hidden Ginger rhizomes. I planted them along the old goldfish pool in the backyard of the mansion. They came up in the spring and in October I saw the first flower. Now Dave’s Garden and other websites say they flower June through August, but I have photos to prove they flowered in October. They are only hardy in USDA zones 7a-11 so I didn’t bring any of the bulbs with me when I moved back to the family farm in mid-Missouri in February 2013. I could have brought them with me and lifted the bulbs in the fall and stored them over the winter…
While some of the other genera of Gingers have really nice flowers, seeing the Hidden Ginger’s first flower in your garden will make your jaw drop. I am not into pink flowers, but there are just some MUST HAVE plants that come in no color but pink. Pink is not the only color they come in though. They are available in golden-yellow, white and purple. There are a few good cultivars on the market now, even with variegated foliage.
The Curcuma petiolata is native to Thailand and Malaysia. The plants will grow up to 36″ tall and they spread by underground rhizomes.
If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, I would like to hear from you.