Red Ginger (Alpinia purpurata), is called ‘Awapuhi ‘ula’ula in the Hawaiian language. It was a canoe plant–brought in the canoes of the first Hawaiian settlers–known for its powerful and pleasing fragrance. Like many canoe plants, it originated in India and was used primarily for food and medicine. Traditionally, the ginger plant was mixed with Noni (an overwhelmingly pungent fruit) to treat sprains.
Hawaiian legend holds that the ‘awapuhi is one of the kinolau–forms–of the deity Kane.
As opposed to some other varieties, red ginger stays in bloom year-round in Hawaii. Because of this, it is often grown today as a house plant and used in flower arrangements.
Red ginger also has common names of Ostrich Plume and Pink Cone Ginger.