Aframomum chrysanthum (Zingiberaceae) 

 

Common Names 

English: aframomum

 

Origin and Distribution 

Native to tropical Africa. Rarely cultivated in other tropical regions.

 

Aframomum chrysanthum flowers

Aframomum chrysanthum flowers

 

Description

Leafy shoots 3-4 feet tall, rapidly spreading by superficial rhizomes to form a dense clump.  Basal flowers. 

 

Aframomum chrysanthum foliage

Aframomum chrysanthum foliage

 

 

Related Species

Aframomum is the largest African genus of the Zingiberaceae family, with about 70 species.  They are found in tropical forests and savannahs, where they form dense clumps.  The leafy shoots are eaten by wildlife, such as gorillas and elephants.  The following are some of the more commercially important species:

Aframomum angustifolium (Madagascar cardamom, wild cardamom): From East Africa and Madagascar.  Fruits with an agreeable acid pulp, seeds used for seasoning and added to coffee.

Aframomum baumannii: Ripe fruit pulp used as a spice in food or chewed as a stimulant.

Aframomum elliotii (alligator cardamom): From West Africa, seeds widely used to flavor wine, beer, foods and ginger beer.

Aframomum latifolium: From West Africa, pulp used.

Aframomum longiscapum: Only "slightly aromatic".

Aframomum melegueta (grains of paradise, melegueta pepper): From West Africa.  Fruit pulp eaten or chewed as a stimulant. Seeds used to flavor wine, beer, cordials, liqueurs, meats and breads. Used with ginger and cinnamon to flavor the wine known as hippocras. Used in the USA to flavor ice cream, candy and soft drinks.

Aframomum sanguineum (matungulu): From Equatorial Africa, pulp used.

Aframomum sceptium: Ripe fruit pulp and seed are eaten raw.

Aframomum sulcatum: From West Africa, pulp used.

 

Aframomum chrysanthum unripe fruits

Aframomum chrysanthum unripe fruits

 

 

Aframomum chrysanthum ripe fruits

Aframomum chrysanthum ripe fruits

 

 

 

 

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