Earlier this year we ordered Kaempferia galanga plant from Queensland and it arrived on May 18. We were very pleased to get it well packed to minimise damage during the delivery. May is the last month of Autumn in Australia, so I knew that the plant would be dormant during the winter months. All the leaves turned yellow and dry once the temperature was getting colder. Since then I had moved it into a bigger pot and I could see the roots were big and strong. Now it has grown 2 new leaf buds, still small but it shows that the life cycle continues and it is not dead. Before the leaves are fully open, they grow in an unusual curl shape, which is one of the characteristics of this plant. When the leaves are wet, they look oily and shiny.
In Indonesia Kaempferia galanga is called ‘Kencur’ and the rhizomes are widely used in some traditional cooking, especially in Javanese cuisine. It is also used in Javanese traditional medicinal drink ‘Beras Kencur’. The aromatic rhizomes are harvested after the foliage have turned yellow, while the young leaves can also be used in cooking.
How strange that while living in Indonesia I had never seen ‘kencur plant’ at all, so I was amazed to see the large shiny leaves that grow flat. If grown in suitable condition, it can have attractive flowers that have white petals and purple center. When summer time arrives next month, the plant can be moved outside in a partly sunny position. I will try not to use it for cooking until the plant has grown into larger clumps.
The plant earlier in May, not long after it arrived: