Mayapott has a unique garden with more than three dozen ornamental plants that belong to the ginger family, and varieties of herbal and medicinal plants. Cardamom, which is cultivated on the plantation, also belongs to the ginger family; the botanical name of true cardamom is Elettaria cardamomum. The ginger family (Zingiberaceae) contains around 1,000 species of tropical perennial herbs. Some gingers are cultivated for their edible rhizomes, which are used for as both a medicine and a culinary spice. Other gingers, known as ornamental gingers, are grown primarily for their pleasing appearance. Some of the gingers at Mayapott:
Cardamom (Eletteria cardamomum) It is used to make a pungent and aromatic spice that has been used in Europe since about 1200 AD, and in India much longer. Cardamom plants grow about 10 feet (3 meters) in height. It has a fleshy and thick rootstock with large-leaved stems growing out, and white flowers with blue stripes and yellow borders borne on separate on flowering stems 2 to 6 feet long. The fruit is a small capsule, which is used as the spice, while the plant itself is a perennial herb.
Red Ginger (Alpinia purpurata) is native to Melanesia and naturalized throughout the tropical regions of the world. This stately ginger can reach heights of up to 13 feet. Throughout the year, it produces stunning red blossoms that are often used in flower arrangements. Red ginger loves moist, well-drained soil and partial shade.
Yellow Ginger (Hedychium flavescens), originated in India. It is now widely grown in Hawaii, where its pale yellow, soft-petalled aromatic flowers are used to construct leis. This ginger reaches a mature height of 6.5 feet. Like red ginger, it flourishes in moist, partially shady conditions.
Torch Ginger (Etlingera elatior) also known as Ginger Rose is a garden plant with clusters of stems up to 10 feet tall. It flowers year around; the young buds of the flower are used in cooking in parts of Malaysia and Thailand.
Shell Ginger (Alpinia zerumbet) is a Chinese perennial plant of the ginger family. The flowers are white, tipped in pink, and borne in long pendant arches. The individual flowers are reminiscent of small seashells, which accounts for the common name “shell ginger”.
Peacock ginger (Kaempferia laotica) is a species of ornamental ginger indigenous to Southeast Asia. This plant is noted for its stunning leaves, which exhibit intricate patterns in dark and light shades of green. Its modest four-petaled flowers are light purple in color.
A variety of herbal plants like panikoorka (Coleus aromaticus), insulin-plant (Costus picta), pepper-mint, basil, mint, and a number of lilies are also found at Mayapott.