Hidden Ginger, Jewel of Thailand, etc.
Curcuma petiolata Roxb. is the accepted scientific name of the Hidden Ginger. It was first described by William Roxburgh in Flora Indica in 1820.
The genus, Curcuma L., was named and described as such by Carl von Linnaeus in the first volume of the first edition of Species Plantarum in 1753.
As of 1-18-23 when this page was last updated, Plants of the World Online lists 147 species in the Curcuma genus. It is a member of the plant family Zingiberaceae with 57 genera. Those numbers could change as updates are made on POWO.
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. Dave’s Garden and other websites say they flower from 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.
I hope you enjoyed this page and maybe found it useful. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, I would like to hear from you. Please click on “like” if you visited this page. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. 🙂 You can check out the links below for further reading. The links take you directly to the genus and species of this plant.
Thanks. This came up in my yard in Tallahassee Florida & I did not plant it so I asked friends what it was.
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Hello Judith! Very interesting. They have neat flowers, but you have to look through the leaves to find them sometimes. It is funny how some plants just pop up that you never planted. Take care and thanks for the comment!