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GALANGAL GROWING INFORMATION
© Frances Michaels
BOTANICAL NAME: Alpinia galangal
Thai ginger; laos; greater galangal; galingale; kha
Zingiberaceae, the ginger family
Galangal's native habitat is China (Hainan Island). The name Galangal is derived from the Arabic
, perhaps a distortion of a Chinese word meaning 'mild ginger.' It is a perennial herb,
between one and two metres in height, depending on variety. The leaves are 25-35 cm long, rather narrow
blades. The flowers are borne at the top of the plant and are small, white and streaked with deep-red
veining. The rhizome resembles ginger in shape but it is much smaller. Some varieties have a dark
reddish-brown skin and the interior is nearly white. The rhizomes are tough and difficult to break. It
prefers rich, moist soil in a protected, shady position and is drought and frost tender. Frost will damage
the leaves but will rarely kill the clump. In a permaculture system it is a useful understorey plant.
The root has been used in Europe as a spice for over a thousand years, it was probably been introduced by
Arabian or Greek physicians. The rhizomes have a spicy aroma and a pungent taste somewhere between pepper
and ginger, it is often cooked with lemon grass. The rhizomes are used fresh and dried to flavour curries,
soup, meat and fish. It is also used in Russia for flavouring vinegar and the liqueur 'nastoika'. The
leaves and young shoots are also edible. In India the oil of galangal is valued in perfumery.
Galangal can be planted on ridges, usually about 30 cm apart and with 15-23 cm between plants. The crop is
planted by setts (small rhizomes) with one or two buds. Plant in spring, after all danger of frost is past
and the soil has warmed up at a depth of 5-10 cm.
Rhizomes can be harvested most of the year. The rhizomes are more tender when they are young and actively
growing with a white rather than brown skin. It is possible for the home gardener to just dig carefully at
the side of a clump and remove rhizomes as needed rather than harvesting the whole clump.
Not to TAS or WA
SORRY but due to quarantine restrictions between Australian States no plants at all can be ordered
by residents of TAS
. These restrictions
are very important as they prevent the spread of plant pests and diseases. No potatoes, garlic, shallots
or strawberries can be sent to SA
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