The torch ginger was the inspiration for the Tropical Spice Garden logo. This tall, upright herb grows up to 5m (16ft) with large, linear, lance-shaped leaves rising at wide intervals from the false stem made up of leaf sheaths. The red flowers can grow as large as 25cm(10in) in diameter! Young shoots can easily be dug out of the soil and replanted in well-drained, humus-rich soil with plenty of water.
The torch ginger is a commonly grown herb in SE Asia and is used for cooking and decorating – the attractive flowers are often used for cut – flowers displays. In Malaysia, the bud is halved lengthwise and added to fish curries or finely sliced and used as a garnish (think assam laksa). In Thailand, the bud and young shoots are eaten raw with a spicy dip (nam prik) or added to a rice salad (khao yam). A decoration of the fruits can be used to relieve earaches and the leaves are used to cleanse wounds.