What's blooming at Baltimore's Rawlings Conservatory?
Photo credit: Michael Lemmon
The flowers of this tropical ginger are now blooming at Baltimore's Rawlings Conservatory in Druid Hill Park.
They grow in cascading arches with buds of an opalescent white and pink shade. They look very similar to small seashells, giving it the common name "Shell ginger." When they open, the flowers are a pink color with a striking lip of yellow and red.
This plant is native to India but can be found in Asia, Brazil, and the Southern USA. The leaves are long and blade-like and have been substituted for bamboo leaves to make "Zongi," a Chinese food similar to a tamale. This traditional dish is made of rice and different fillings, wrapped in leaves and then steamed or boiled.