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Plants of the UNF Campus

Alpinia nutans - False cardamon
Family Zingiberaceae


The genus Alpinia is reported to be the largest genus in the ginger family with over two hundred species native to Asia. This herbaceous perennial grows two to five feet tall (depending on conditions) and is evergreen down to temperatures in the low to mid-20’s. In north Florida, colder temperatures will kill it to the ground and it will resprout in spring. A distinctive ginger aroma is detected by simply brushing the leaves. It rarely flowers in Florida, even in south Florida.


See plants on the east side of building 10 and south side of building 8.


Herbaceous plant to two to five feet tall depending on the conditions.

Care Instructions:

Light: part shade to full shade, will tolerate full sun with good care

Water: moderately drought tolerant once established, irrigation may be beneficial in droughts, grows taller in a moist site

Soil: adaptable, wide pH tolerance

This is an easy garden plant in north Florida but is not easy to find in nurseries. It is sold sometimes as dwarf cardamon but it is not the source of the commercial spice. The bold texture and dense foliage make it an attractive, tall groundcover in shady locations. A single specimen serves as a small to medium sized shrub in the landscape. It rarely flowers in our area.

Alpinia nutans