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Alpinia galanga
Lesser Galangal (Alpinia officinarum)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
(unranked): Commelinids
Order: Zingiberales
Family: Zingiberaceae
Subfamily: Alpinioideae
Tribe: Alpinieae
Genus: Alpinia
Species: A. officinarum

Lesser galangal or Alpinia officinarum (synonym Languas officinarum) is a plant in the ginger family. Lesser galangal is native to China, growing mainly on the southeast coast. It is also grown in India who is the second largest exporter of the rhizome. The rhizome was widely used in ancient and medieval Europe. The rhizome is smaller than greater galangal. The skin and the flesh are reddish brown whereas greater galangal has light yellow or white flesh. It was preferred to greater galangal because of its stronger, sweeter taste with notes of cinnamon. Its use in Europe has dramatically declined, however, and is now only used in Eastern Europe. It is used in Russia for flavoring vinegar and the liqueur Nastoika. It is still used as a spice and medicine in Lithuania and Estonia. In Central Asia, Tartars prepare a kind of tea that contains it. The spice used in South Eastern Asia which often goes by the name of "Lesser Galangal" is actually Kaempferia galanga.

Contents

Etymology

The word lesser galangal properly refers to Alpinia officinarum. In common usage, however, it is also applied to Kaempferia galanga, also called Kencur, Sand ginger, Aromatic Ginger or Resurrection Lily. Kaempferia Galanga, which is grown for medicine and as a spice, is an almost stemless plant that develops its few short-lived leaves and the flower at ground level, whereas the stem of A. officinarum is two to four feet high.

Nomenclature and taxonomy

In Manipuri, it is called Pullei maanbi.

See also

References

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