Heliconia and Zingiberales
Heliconia are grown world wide for their beautiful flowers and for landscaping in gardens. The Garden has a documented collection of several hundred different species and cultivars. Heliconia are native to the Americas with a strange disjunct distribution on a few small islands in the Pacific. Many species have very showy brightly colored flowers that attract hummingbirds as their main pollinators. The large group of plants called Zingiberales includes Ginger, Torch ginger, Alpinia and several other genus of ginger. Many are native to Asia and Thailand and has an unknown, but large amount of different genus and species. Several species are commonly used in Thai and other Asian countries in local food and cooking. Almost 10 years ago one of the garden collectors brought back a strange looking ginger from the Thai forest. Divisions were donated to other Botanical Institutions, and when it later flowered it was realized it represented a completely new genus, it was named Siamanthus after it's home country, Siam, nowadays Thailand. Recent interest in gingers has encourage the garden to start a Thai ginger repository, consisting of plants not only collected by the garden staff but also by several visiting researchers from abroad.