When a shell is not a shell…

A short distance from the beach was this East Asian perennial, Shell Ginger (Alpinia zerumbet). It grows up to ten feet tall. Shell Ginger is also known as Pink Porcelain Lily, Variegated Ginger, and Butterfly Ginger. As I strolled through the Orchid Festival last month this shrub silently caught my attention with it’s blooms equally worthy of attention. Copyright 2022 Pamela Breitberg
Shell Ginger‘s leaves, as its name suggests, is used to flavor teas and noodles, and to wrap mochi rice cakes. The Okinawan natives credit this plant with their longevity. Copyright 2022 Pamela Breitberg
Shell Ginger is quite the opposite of the Wild Ginger I would hunt for in the Midwest Chicago woodlands. Wild Ginger grows a mear ten inches tall and it’s the rhizomes that are used as a spice versus the leaves of the Shell Ginger. It always amazes me how such diverse plants can have same names. Copyright 2022 Pamela Breitberg

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