Southeast Asia (SEA) is an important ginger-producing and ginger-consuming region. China tops the list of ginger-producing SEA countries, with a production of 240,000 tons from an area of 80,000 ha. The main ginger-production centers in China are the provinces of Shandong, Guangdong, Zhejiang, Anhui, Jiangxi, and Hubai. China also has the richest genetic variability for ginger; many varieties and morphotypes have been identified. China also has perhaps the highest ginger productivity; the highest yield figure reported is 120 t/ha. Farmers grow many ginger types to suit the user agencies and processing industry. The ginger varieties and types grown in traditional growing areas show much variation in the yield, quality, and morphological characters. This chapter deals with ginger production in the SEA region with emphasis on China.
Types of Ginger
The SEA gingers can be classified based on growth and morphological characters into sparse seedling type and dense seedling type.
Sparse Seedling Type: Plants are tall, vigorous, generally 80 to 90 cm high; leaves are larger and thick; the color is deep green; and tillers are thick and strong. This group has fewer tillers (generally 8 to 12) than the dense seedling type, and they are plump and sparsely arranged. Rhizomes are bigger, have an appealing appearance, less but large and plumpy primary fingers (usually arranged in a single tier), and long internodes. This type has high yield and good commodity quality. The representative cultivars are Guanzhou (sparse-ringed big fleshy ginger) and Shandong Laiwu (big ginger).
Dense Seedling Type: This type has moderate height, generally 65 to 80 cm, less vigorous, smaller, lighter green leaves, more tillers (usually 10 to 15, sometimes over 20), more but smaller primary branches, more nodes, and shorter internodes. The primaries are arranged in two or more tiers. The representative varieties are, for example, Shandong Laiwu (sliced ginger), Guangzhou (dense-ringed fleshy ginger), and Zhejiang (red-claw ginger).
Ginger can also be classified based on end uses into edible medicinal type, edible processed type, and ornamental type.
Edible Medicinal Type: This type can be used both for eating and for medicinal purposes. Most varieties in China belong to this group. Most of them are used mainly for eating but also have been used medicinally, such as Shandong Lai Wu big ginger, and Fujian red-bud ginger. A few are used for both purposes, such as Hunan yellow-heart ginger (for medicine) and chicken-claw ginger (for eating).
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Edible Processed Type: This type is used as processing material and should have a lower fiber content and a higher water content in the rhizome. Such cultivars have a delicate texture, light color, dense fragrance, and light piquancy. This group includes Guangzhou (fleshy ginger), Zhejiang (red-claw ginger), Tongling (white ginger), Fujian bamboo ginger, Zunyi (big white ginger), and other varieties.
Ornamental Type: These types are appreciated for their beautiful striped leaves and flowers. They are mainly distributed in Taiwan and the east—south Asia areas. The typical varieties are Laishe ginger, flower ginger, stripe leafed tea ginger, strong ginger, Heng-chun ginger, and Hekou ginger.
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