• WordNet 3.6
    • n Zingiber tropical Asiatic and Polynesian perennial plants: ginger
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n zingiber A genus of plants, type of the order Zingiberaceæ and of the tribe Zingibereæ. It is characterized by a cone-like inflorescence, each flower having a three-celled ovary and a stamen composed of a short filament and an anther with contiguous cells having the connective extended into a long linear appendage—the two lateral stamens either absent or represented by two small adnate staminodes. About 33 species have been described, of which perhaps 23 are distinct. They are natives of India and of islands of the Pacific and Indian Oceans. They are leafy plants with horizontal tuberous rootstocks, the sterile stems differing from the flower-bearing ones. The dense cone of flowers is composed of imbricated bracts, each with from one to three flowers and spathaceous bractlets. The inflorescence is sometimes borne on a leafless scape, more or less covered with sheaths, in other species terminating a leafy stem, or apparently lateral upon a recurved peduncle. Each flower produces a membranous or hyaline tubular calyx, and a cylindrical corolla-tube dilated into narrow spreading lobes, the posterior one erect and incurved. The fruit is a globose or oblong capsule, finally irregularly ruptured, and discharging rather large oblong seeds with a lacerate aril which is sometimes much larger than the seed. The pungently aromatic roots of several species are the source of the ginger of commerce, especially those of Z. officinale, the ginger-plant of India (see cut under ginger). The root of Z. Cassumunar, of India, is used as a tonic and stimulant, and is cultivated under the name of cassumunar ginger or Bengal root. Also Zinziber.
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In literature:

It is produced from the roots of Zingiber officinale, a member of the large and handsome family of the Ginger-worts.
"The plant-lore and garden-craft of Shakespeare" by Henry Nicholson Ellacombe