Siphonochilus

Siphonochilus is an African genus of gingers (Family: Zingiberaceae) that was taxonomically separated from the related Asian genus Kaempferia in 1982.


Siphonochilus aethiopicus is a magnificent ginger that occurs naturally in the south-eastern regions of southern Africa. It is a forest-dwelling herbaceous perennial that dies down to a rhizome and tuberous roots during the dry winter months. Sadly this plant is nearly extinct in the wild due to over-exploitation by indigenous tribes for its use in traditional medicine and magi-cultural practises.

This species is easy to grow in pots or raised beds if it is given some shade and a dry winter rest when it is dormant. It will produce its striking scented flowers during the summer months at ground level. The rhizome is also strongly scented of ginger and violets. The photo below by Rogan Roth of Siphonochilus aethiopicus growing in a raised bed demonstrates the habit of the plant nicely.

Siphonochilus aethiopicus, Rogan Roth

Siphonochilus longitubus is native to Zambia. Photos by Nicholas Wightman taken near Lilayi, Zambia.

Siphonochilus longitubus, Lilayi, Nicholas WightmanSiphonochilus longitubus, Lilayi, Nicholas WightmanSiphonochilus longitubus, Lilayi, Nicholas Wightman

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Page last modified on February 25, 2013, at 12:54 PM