Count Your Blessings!

With love and passion, everyone can have a nice garden...Elaine Yim

Count Your Blessings!
Count The Garden By The Flowers, Never By The Leaves That Fall.
Count Your Life With Smiles And Not The Tears That Roll.
..... Author unknown.

Knowing me, Knowing you..... Aha.....!

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Malaysian Flora USDA Zone 11
Welcome to our exotic world of everlasting summers and tropical rainforests!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Torch Ginger Etlingera elatior - Pink & White

Botanical name: Etlingera elatior
Family: Zingiberaceae (ginger family)
Common name: Torch ginger, wax flower, porcelain flower, bunga kantan,
Origin: Indonesia and Malaysia
This genus is named after the German botanist Andreas Ernst Etlinger.
In Latin, elatior means 'taller'.
Synonyms: Phaeomeria imperialis Lindl., Phaeomeria magnifica K. Schum, Nicolaia speciosa Horan.

In Malaysia, we call it bunga kantan. Other malay/Indonesian names include bunga bakung api, mawar porselen, bunga lilin Filipina and obor raja.

I'd like to dedicated this post and the exotic flower to Ms Noelle (azplantlady) of Plant Tips And Guidelines For The Desert Garden, who was the first commenter of my previous post, Wordless Wednesday - Orchids.

This is my belle femme (beautiful lady in French), my permaisuri (Queen in malay). No tropical garden is complete without this exotic, spectacular beauty. The flowers are showy and inflorescent, good as cut flowers and they are also edible! This is a great choice for a herb & spice garden.

Grown from an undergrown rhizome, an adult plant can reach 15 - 20 ft. The flowers which appear from the ground can reach a height of 2 ft. In my garden, land is limited. This plant occupies a significant portion of my plot. I have never regretted planted it.

We use the bud for cooking laksa, nasi kerabu (Kelantanese style rice) and tom yam.
Do you have another cooking stlye to share with us?

My bella signora (beauty in Italian)
Mine is pink. There are also the deep pink and snow white versions.

This white torch ginger is grown at The Secret Garden of 1-Utama.
It is my first time of seeing a white torch ginger.
I am not sure whether it can be used to cook laksa but it certainly is gorgeous.

Hi, I'm Snow White, waiting for my Prince Charming to give me my 'Kiss of Life'. When he asks me for my hand, I'll marry him. I'll be promoted to Her Royal Highness, the Princess of Tropical Rainforest Malaysia. Later, One day, I'll be Queen and we shall live happily ever after.

Individual flowers appear between the pine cone like scales above the waxy bracts. In this picture it looks pale yellow.
The white torch ginger is nicknamed "Thai Queen" and it can be found in Southern Thailand. Are you growing this white version?
I have never seen this seedling at any nursery before. If anyone knows where to get the white kantan, do let me know. From google search, I find that some gardeners are growing it from seeds obtained from

It makes a wonderful landscaping plant.

The pink torch ginger is a common plant found in tropical Malaysia. You can see in along the roads in villages, jungle fringes and it grows wild in our rainforest jungles.

My first experience in growing the bunga kantan can be found here in my June 19 post.

I'm sorry for the late posting due to my busy schedule.

Wishing you all a great and wonderful weekend.

To all my American Friends,


This is my entry for Blooming Friday, last week of November. My grateful thanks to Katarina at Roses and Stuff for hosting Blooming Friday. To see what others have posted or to participate, click here.

Fertilizer Friday will resume next week. My grateful thanks to Tootsie at Tootsie Time for hosting Fertilizer Friday.

This is also my entry for Today's Flowers #68. My grateful thanks to the TF folks: Santilli, Denise, Pupo and Valkyrien for hosting Today's Flowers. To participate or view other floral displays around the world, click here.


  1. I am still to get a plant of this ginger. I have never seen the white and it is beautiful!

  2. 15-20 feet?! Wow!! It is stunning. I have some very fragrant ginger plants here that look like bamboo... get about7-8 feet tall. Mine blew over early in the summer this past year, but still put on their usual wonderful blossoms!

  3. Pine cone like - this is a very good definition for these beautiful blooms!

  4. it's just so pretty! I love all the pics of this lily you post. Is this generally added to tom yum? I love the way the foliage looks en masse like that.

  5. Hello,

    The Torch Ginger is such a beautiful plant. I can't believe how tall it gets! The foliage is also attractive, but the flower us just gorgeous!

  6. Wish I could grow some Torch Gingers here...but my guess is they wouldn't like it. So glad I can enjoy yours! Seems to be a terrrific plant for an exotic garden!
    Happy Blooming Friday!

  7. Hi Autumn Belle! The white ginger (not the torch variety shown here)is also very invasive in my mom's garden in CALIF. I brought some home recently and trying to overwinter them...we'll see! Your pink bloom is gorgeous! 'Exotic and spectacular beauty' is fact, too pretty to eat..haha!
    Hey, I'm waiting for my Prince Charming, too ;)

  8. It is such a treat to see your exotic flowers... I love ginger root in food. I have never seen a flower as beautiful as yours. Very Lovely! Carol

  9. These are all so beautiful and I also want to thank you for posting the botanical names. I really enjoy your posts.

  10. Gorgeous blooms of bunga kantan! I have them in my garden too. Like you, have not seen the white variety. I love the deep red colour too.

  11. Thanks Autumn Belle, for the Thanksgiving greetings! You must think it very strange that we gorge ourselves on turkey once a year. :)
    I can see why you love this Torch ginger, it is simply scrumptious! I am only familiar with ginger for Asian cuisine and it is one of my faves! Thanks for being such a sweety and commenting on my blog.

  12. I do not know all these names, we simply call it Bunga Laksa.

    It does add colour to my delicious laksa.

  13. Nice blog with nice picture of flowers. Belle femme is my favourite flower.

  14. Hi, Autumn Belle,
    I had a wonderful Thanksgiving, thank you!
    Just stopped by to let you know there's an award waiting for you on my blog. Enjoy! Pamela

  15. I wonder this torch ginger has the same element as the common ginger roots sold in the market.
    If they do, then for decorative purpose, you can alternatively use this flower together whenever you use ginger for cooking - dishes like gingerchicken, fish porriage, and salads.

  16. Helen, another name for this white torch ginger flower is “Thai Princess”

    ShadowySteeds, I just cut a stalk of the flower bud that measures 2.5 ft.

    Tatyana, it looks like a pine cone when half opened and like a lotus when fully opened.

    Wendy, yes we add the flower to Tom Yam and assam laksa. Some people cook the crushed bud while others mince the bud and add as garnishing.

    Noelle, the last picture of the white ginger bush isn’t that tall but mine has reached at least 12 ft!

    Katarina, this torch ginger plant loves plenty of sun and rain.
    Lynn, some people regard this torch ginger as invasive, so they cut them off or replant them outside their homes. Ha ha , I hope your Prince Charming didn’t keep you waiting too long.

    Carol, I think it is the ginger flower buds that give laksa and tomyam its unique taste and aroma. The smell is stronger that the ginger root you mentioned.

    Rosey, actually, I’d love to have a sampling of your Thanksgiving turkey dish. (((HUGS))) back to you too!

    Rainfield, Sunshine Girl, Poetic Shutterbug, Flowers, this sure is our favourite flower.

    Pam, I am indeed very honoured by the award. Thank you very much. My post is coming soon but please five me some time to prepare.

    James, the torch ginger has a slightly different scent and taste as compared to the common ginger roots. The flower buds are finely chopped and has been used as garnishing in assam laksa and salads. Some people even use it to marinade chicken before deep frying the chicken.

  17. This is the first time I've seen Torch Ginger. It is a gorgeous flower and it is interesting that it is also used in cooking.

  18. What an amazing plant, or family of plants, Autumn Belle! That the leaves are so large and the flowers so close to the ground, queens indeed!, is astounding! What beauties, regal and edible too. Hope you are able to find the white one, so elegant. :-)

  19. Incredible! Beautiful photos and a very informative post. Thank you,I love to learn about flowers I have never seen before.

  20. In my country popular with name " Bunga kecombrang/combrang"


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