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Edible portion : Rhizome, Roots, Leaves, Seeds, Herb, Spice, Flowers, Vegetable

A herb which grows year after year. It grows to 1.6 m high and spreads to 1 m across. The rootstock creeps under the ground. This is round like a cylinder and branches. This thick rhizome can be 10-12 cm long by 3 cm wide. It grows as a dense clump. The outside of the root is reddish brown and inside is white. The stems lie along the ground. The leaves are long and narrow and sword shaped. The leaf blade is 25-35 cm long by 6-10 cm wide. They taper to the tip. They have a sweet scent. The flower spike is at the end of the shoot. It is hairy and 15-30 cm long. The flower bracts are oval and 2-8 mm long. The flowers are white. They occur in clusters at the ends of stalks. Each bracts surrounds 4-5 flowers. The flowers are 1.5 cm long and white with purple lines. The fruit is a round capsule. It is 1 cm across. It is orange-red.

A tropical plant. It does best in rich moist soils. It prefers a protected shady position. It is drought and frost tender. The soil needs to be well-drained. It can be grown in sheltered sites in cooler climates but needs a heated glasshouse in cold places. In China it grows in grasslands between 100-1300 m altitude in S China. It suits hardiness zones 9-12. In XTBG Yunnan.