Ginger, a flowering herb native to Southeast Asia; also, the spice or seasoning obtained from it. There are 85 or more species of ginger. Ginger is grown in parts of Africa, the West Indies, China, Japan, India, and southern Florida, as well as in Southeast Asia. Common ginger is a perennial herb, two to four feet (60 to 120 cm) tall, with thick, fleshy roots. The leaves are lance-shaped, 6 to 12 inches (15 to 30 cm) long. The greenish-yellow flowers have purple lips.
White ginger is obtained by washing, boiling, peeling, blanching, and drying the roots; black ginger is obtained by merely washing, boiling, and drying the roots. Ginger is used to flavor cakes, bread, ginger ale, ginger beer, and many ethnic dishes. Ginger is also a source of the essential oil gingerol, which is used in perfumes. In medicine, ginger is used as a stimulant.
Common ginger is Zingiber officinale of the ginger family, Zingiberaceae.