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Ginger, Zingiber officinale
2023 Herb of the Year
The spicy edible portion of the ginger plant is the rhizome, which botanically speaking, is a horizontal, modified, underground stem rather than a root.
Ginger is in the Zingiberaceae family, the same family as cardamon (Elettaria cardamomum) and turmeric (Curcuma longa). It is not related to the wild gingers (Asarum spp.) found in the northern hemisphere, which have roots with a similar fragrance but contain aristolochic acid (which is associated with kidney damage).
The tropical plant grows 3-4 feet, has bamboo-like pseudostems (false stems made of tightly wrapped leaf bases), narrow leaves and flowers that emerge behind bracts on a dense cone. Ornamental varieties have showy flowers.
Source: Herb Society of America
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