Also Known As
Blue Ginger [Not to be confused with the "other Blue Ginger, Zingiber officinale "Bubba Baba Blue," aka "Kali-Ma," a blue-fleshed heirloom true ginger from India.]
False Blue Ginger
Cana macaque (Cane Monkey)
Cana-do-brejo-da-roxa (Imbituba, Brazil)
This light shade loving plant boasts truly stunning, deep blue flowers that wow any passer-by. It is used medicinally in its native Brazil. One use there is to apply the sticky, acrid juice as an emollient, but use caution when handling the juice... don't rub any in your eyes.
CAUTION: The juice is somewhat acrid, so use caution when handling this plant, especially when applying it as an external medicine [see medicinal notes below]. Do not rub the juice in your eyes after contact.
MEDICINAL USES: “The entire plant contains sticky, acrid juice.” Used medicinally in Brazil: Anti-rheumatic, emollient, diuretic. Recommended decoction of 5 grams of the stems and leaves in a cup of boiling water (PlantasQueCuram). The leaves are used more often than the stems.
CUT FLOWER: As the flowers tend to last a long time, they may be cut and placed in flower arrangements.
NATIVE TO: North, Central & South America.
DESCRIPTION: A popular ornamental evergreen perennial 5-8 feet tall. Many healthy clumps are grown in the shade at Bok Tower Gardens, Lake Wales, Florida. Not a true ginger, actually a spiderwort.
- FLOWERS: Strikingly beautiful deep royal blue long-lasting flowers in spires.
- STEMS: Pretty spotted stems.
- ROOTS: Rhizomatous.
- LIGHT: Partial to light shade is best.
- HARDINESS: Not heavy frost tolerant.
- WATER: Moderately drought tolerant.
- SOIL: They tolerate poor soils but do best when planted in rich, moist soil.
- PRUNING: “Lucy Hoyt, Master Gardener, cuts hers back by half in the spring, even though this is sometimes lower than the leaves. Hers grow back thick and bloom abundantly.” – Monica Brandies, Brandon, FL.
- PROPAGATION: Propagate by cuttings, division or seeds
Rate of GrowthModerate
Ease of growth
Sources for acquiring
Various plant nurseries sell these plants as ornamentals across Florida.
Bok Tower Garden nursery occasionally has it for sale.
Andy Firk's plant info page [Plant Signs No. 7]