Pseudostems well -developed, 1–3 m. Inflorescences projecting from tip of pseudostem, lax, paniculate; bracts of main axis remote [imbricate or not], minute [to 7 cm], scalelike [ovate to lance-oblong or lanceolate]; cincinni stalked, 1–3-flowered; bracteoles large, conspicuous [small or absent], enclosing cincinni. Flowers: calyx subcampanulate, shallowly 3-toothed, split down one side [not split]; corolla tube cylindric, lobes oblanceolate to elliptical; filament linear, plane; anther enclosed in corolla, not spurred, terminal appendage none; lateral staminodes absent or very small and connate with lip, lip ovate, tubular-incurved, notched. Fruits mostly indehiscent, globose. x = 11, 12.
Introduced; North America, Mexico, West Indies, Central America, South America, native, Asia, Oceania.
Several species of Alpinia are grown as ornamentals in warm climates. Only A. zerumbet is known to spread outside cultivation, but at least three other species, A. calcarata Roscoe, A. nigra (Gaertner) B. L. Burtt, and A. officinarum Hance, may persist for many years in abandoned gardens in coastal Florida. All three of these species may be distinguished from A. zerumbet by having erect inflorescences, among other characters.
Species ca. 230 (1 in the flora).