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 but the actual 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. It grows from aromatic rhizomes. New shoots appear from these rhizomes. It spreads by rhizomes if that is an issue use some sort of barrier to limit its spread. The leaves are oblong and about 90cm or 3ft long.
Alpinia purpurata like most tropical plants prefer partial shade protected from strong sun and do well 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 necessary but remove yellowed leaves and spent flowers.
In Hawaii, Alpinia purpurata has been used for medicinal use, the stems for stomachaches, and the rhizomes powdered and use for toothache. The leaves are used for a yellow dye.