Alpinia purpurata is also known as the Red Ginger, Pink Cone Ginger, Ostrich Plume, Lengkuas, Alpinia, Awapuhi-‘ula’ula, Tahitian Ginger, Tepus, or in Dutch it is called Bokkepoot meaning Billy-goats’ Foot. Alpinia purpurata is native to Malaysia and is part of the Zingiberaceae family of plants.
Alpinia purpurata is the national flower of Samoa where they call it Teuila. Its attractive red bracts are not really its flowers. The flowers are small and white and appear on the bracts. Bracts can last for 3 weeks and are the major attraction of this plant. Alpinia purpurata is a herbaceous perennial. It can grow to 4m or 14ft tall.
Alpinia purpurata grows from aromatic rhizomes. New shoots appear from these rhizomes. It spreads by rhizomes. To stop the spread use some sort of barrier to limit its spread. The leaves are oblong. They are about 90cm or 3ft long.
Alpinia purpurata like most tropical plants prefer partial shade. Protect it from the strong sun. Keep it in a moist and humid environment. Plant it in moist, fertile soil. It should not ever dry out. But that does not mean it should be in soggy soil. No pruning is necessary. Remove yellowed leaves and spent flowers.
In Hawaii, Alpinia purpurata is used for medicinal purposes. The stems help stomachaches and the powdered rhizomes help a toothache. The leaves are used for a yellow dye.