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GALANGAL GROWING INFORMATION Frances Michaels
BOTANICAL NAME: Alpinia galangal
COMMON NAMES: Thai ginger; laos; greater galangal; galingale; kha
FAMILY: Zingiberaceae, the ginger family

PLANT DESCRIPTION
Galangal's native habitat is China (Hainan Island). The name Galangal is derived from the Arabic Khalanjan, 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.

USES
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.

PLANTING DETAILS
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.

HARVEST
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 NORFOLK ISLAND, TAS or WA
SORRY but due to quarantine restrictions between Australian States no plants at all can be ordered by residents of Norfolk Island, Tasmania and Western Australia. These restrictions are very important as they prevent the spread of plant pests and diseases. No potatoes, garlic, shallots, strawberries or tube stock can be sent to South Australia.
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