Introduction

Alpinia Caerulea is a hardy rainforest understory perennial in eastern Australia, growing up to 3 metres in height and growing in a spreading clump.

It has long sword-like leaves up to 40cm long and 3-10cm wide. It produces blue berries with a black seed and white pulp. There is a lovely variety called the Red Back, where the green leaves have an attractive red on the other side, popularly grown for this reason.

A popular traditional Aboriginal plant for both eating and crafting.

Eating

The plant has fragrant white flowers, followed by blue berries that have a fresh, juicy, lemon-ginger flavour, and can be eaten straight from the plan, discarding the seed.

The seeds can be dried and ground and used as a spice.

At the base of the plant are the tips of the underground stem, appearing between November and April.

The shoots have a gingery flavour and are great in stir fries.
The roots can also be used in cooking.

The leaves can be used to wrap food for cooking.

Growing

It prefers semi-shade to full shade, moist soil, and doesn’t like frost.
Can be cut back strongly to contain the spread, or the rhizome roots can be divided to propagate.

The best planting time is late winter/early spring, before the wet season starts. Plant the rhizomes 5-10cm deep.

Credits

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alpinia_caerulea
http://tasteaustralia.biz/bushfood/native-ginger/
http://www.lushplants.com.au/blog/blog-categories/ginger-canna-heliconia-articles/entry/ginger-heliconia-canna/the-joy-of-native-ginger-alpinia-caerulea-red-back



Appearance

Type: Shrub
Height: Low
Leaf Size: Large
Foliage: Evergreen
Permanence: Perennial

Functions

Bush Tucker: Yes
Edible Flower: No
Uses: Herb, Vegetable, Spice, Tea, Jam
Fire Retardant: Unknown
Interest: High

Growing

Climate Zone: Tropical, Subtropical
Planting Season: Spring, Winter
Harvesting Season: Summer
Sun/Shade: Partial Sun, Shade
Soil: Moist
Frost Tolerant: No, A Little
Time to Maturity: 2-3yrs
Watering Preference: Moderate