Also Known As
Butterfly Ginger 
Butterfly Lily 
Garland Flower 
Garland Lily 
White Garland Lily 
White Ginger Lily 

Order:   Zinberales
Family:   Zingiberaceae
Genus:    Hedychium
Species: coronarium

Florida n c s

Edible Parts
Flower Root
Animal Interaction
Hummingbird Butterfly
Other Uses
Mug Medicinal Fragrant
When gorgeous meets fragrant and edible, you end up with the white blossoms of the White Butterfly Ginger. The fresh flowers and unopened flowerbuds are added to salads, or added to Asian dishes. My friend, Hawaiian wildcrafting expert, Sunny Savage, wrote, "in addition to flowers & flower buds, I also add rhizome to my ferments!" How cool is that. 

EDIBLE FLOWERBUDS & FLOWERS: Young buds and flowers are eaten or used for flavoring. "Hedychium coronarium is preferred in an ethnic dish of Manipur."
EDIBLE RHIZOMES: My friend, Hawaiian wildcrafting expert, Sunny Savage, wrote, "in addition to flowers & flower buds, I also add rhizome to my ferments!" The "root [is] cooked. A famine food, used when all else fails." [4]
MEDICINAL RHIZOME: The rhizome of Butterfly Ginger is used for headache, lancinating pain, contusion and is considered anti-inflammatory. It is also used as a febrifuge, tonic, excitant, and anti-rheumatic.”
MEDICINAL PROPERTIES: Antirheumatic, aromatic, carminative, febrifuge, stomachic.
MEDICINAL RHIZOME OIL: "The root contains 1.7% essential oil, which is used medicinally." [6]
PERFUMERY: "An essential oil obtained from the flowers is valued in high grade perfumes." [6]
PAPER MAKING: "The stems contain 43 - 48% cellulose and are useful in making paper." [5]
BUTTERFLIES: The flowers attract butterflies. 

NATIVE TO: Tropical Asia. "India, Himalaya to Java." [1] Plants For a Future simply lists India. [2]
HABITAT: In the wild: "Moist places along streams and on forest edges." [3]
DESCRIPTION: An erect herbaceous perennial. Typically to 6' tall. They "may grow to 10’ tall in its native habitat." [1] Fast rate of growth. [2]
- LEAVES: Large, lance-shaped. Up to 24" long by 5" wide. [2]
- FLOWERS: Bright white, very fragrant, hermaphroditic flowers. In "dense, elliptic racemes, 4-8" long." [1] Individual flowers resemble white butterflies. They bloom from "late summer to early fall." [1] Plants For a Future lists the bloom time as late spring through early fall. [2] 
Main Bloom Time: Early summer, Early fall, Late summer, Late spring, Mid summer, Mid fall.
- RHIZOMES: They resemble thick true ginger rhizomes.
- HARDINESS: USDA zones 8 to 10. [1] Zones 8 to 11. [2] It "Likes hot and humid summers." [1]
- IN COOLER AREAS: "Store [autumn-lifted rhizomes] for winter in slightly moist vermiculite or peat in a cool, dry location" and then replant them "in the ground in spring after last frost date." [1] 
- LIGHT: Full sun to part shade. [1] "It cannot grow in [full] shade." [3]
- SOIL: Well drained. [1] It "likes consistently moist soils." [2] Fine in light sandy, medium loam, or heavy clay soils.
- pH: [2] Tolerates neutral to acidic soils. [2]
- WATER: They do not like to be dry.  "It prefers moist or wet soil." [3] Placed in evenly wet, or even at the edge of a pond or creek, they will thrive. Not drought tolerant.
- USES: Along borders, in containers.
ETMYMOLOGY: The "genus name [Hedychium] comes from the Greek words "hedys" meaning sweet, and "chion" meaning snow." [1] The The "specific epithet [coronarium] means pertaining to garlands." [1] 

More Details

Flowering Calendar

Flower Color
Flowering Type

Plant Form
Herbaceous Deciduous Perennial Herb
6 feet
3 feet
Root type
Root size
1 feet
Rate of Growth

Hardiness Zone
8a to 11b
Part Sun Full Sun
Sandy Rich Clay Well-Drained
5.5 - 7.0
Flood Tolerant

Sources for acquiring

Some nurseries, either those that specialize in edibles or simply ornamentals, occasionally carry this plant. 


[1] Missouri Botanical Garden
[2] Plants for a Future
[3] The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening, 1992 
[4] Plants for Human Consumption 
[5] Cornucopia: A Source Book of Edible Plants 
[5] Medicinal Plants of China, by Duka and Ayensu 
[6] Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants 
Last Updated: October 28, 2017

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