Alpinia calcarata

Alpinia calcarata.

Growing from rhizomes Snap Ginger forms large clumps of plants.
The slender pseudostems are up to 1 or 1.5 m high.
The alternate leaves, in 2 ranks are around 40 (30 to 50) cm long.
They are narrower than many other gingers being 5 cm or less in width.
Other gingers I seen have leaves 10 to 15 cm wide.

The blade is linear to narrowly lanceolate and tapers to a long point.
There are short stiff hairs or bristles along the margin and the tip is twisted.
The rest of the blade is smooth with a shiny upper surface.

The leaf base narrows to form a sheath down the pseudostem.
At the top of the sheath is a membranous ligule around 1 cm long.
It has 2 small lobes at the top with hairs on the edges.

Branched terminal inflorescences are erect spikes up to 15 cm long.
There are dense hairs on all the branches each of which holds 2 or 4 flowers.

At the base of each branch is a very small hairy bract that falls off early.
Each flower has 2 ovate bracteoles at the base of the short pedicel.
They are of different lengths with the longer being up to 1.5 cm.
They have short hairs on the outer surface.

Flowers are around 4 cm long.
The 3 sepals have fused bases forming a tube up to 1 cm long.
The lobes have rounded tips and hairs externally.

The 3 petals are fused at the base for around 1 cm with 1 large and 2 smaller lobes.
The dorsal or upper lobe can be nearly 2 cm long and 1 cm wide.
The 2 lateral lobes are slightly shorter and only around half the width.
The oblong lobes have rounded tips and hairs on the outer surface.
They are white and may have a tinge of pink at the edges of the lobes.

There are 6 stamens in 2 whorls.
The outer whorl has 3 staminodes one of which is minute or absent.
The other 2 are reduced to short reddish filaments with their bases fused.

In the inner whorl are one large fertile stamen and 2 large fused staminodes.
The posterior or upper fertile stamen is 1.5 to 2 cm long with an 8 mm long anther.
There are hairs on the anther sacs.
The 2 lateral staminodes form the large petal-like labellum.
This is ovate and can be up to 3 cm long and around 2 cm wide.
There is a notch at the tip which has a frilled edge.
Descriptions of it vary – white with red, yellow with red streaks, yellow, dark purple
    and white with yellow and red.
The ones I have seen have white petals and the labellum is white with red and sometimes varying amounts of yellow.

There are 2 fleshy nectiferous glands a few mms high on the top of the ovary.
The inferior ovary is 3 to 4 mm long and densely hairy.
It has 3 locules each with many ovules with axile placentation.
The 3.5 cm long style lies in a groove on the stamen filament then between the anther sacs.
There are hairs on the upper part of the filament.
The stigma, held just above the anther is cup-like with hairs around the margin.

The reddish fruit are up to 2.5 cm long.