Gingers & Heliconias
With plenty of shading overhead, this picturesque, narrow and winding pathway leads visitors through Zingiber Alley where the star attractions, Gingers & Heliconias, provide a dramatic splash of color.
At last count, nearly 50 varieties of ginger and heliconias could be identified within the alley area.
These showy plants are iconic symbols of the tropics and they make an ideal backdrop for that picture-perfect selfie photo.
Zingiber Alley – Supporting Cast
Elephant-foot yam – Normally on display are the very large, distinctly prominent leaves of the Amorphophallus paeifolius, aka the elephant-foot yam. Rhizomes of this plant are popular as a vegetable in various cuisines in India and Southeast Asia.
The flower, referred to as “stinkwort” is somewhat odiferous, which attracts flies, useful for pollination. If you happen to be visiting when this plant is in bloom, you won’t see any leaves, however you’ll have an opportunity to witness (and smell) one of plant-world’s most unusual flowers.
Coffee trees – If you are entering from the Orchid house side, your first encounter will be with a cluster of shade loving coffee trees. In this part of Belize, they’re mostly used for ornamental purposes. There is some coffee grown commercially at higher elevations.
Xaté palm – Further along, look for a grouping of Xate (pronounced “shatay”) valued for their use as the green leafy base in floral arrangements.
Chamaedorea elegans is one of the most heavily sold houseplant palms in the world and one of several species with leaves that are harvested as xate.
Bird-of-paradise (strelitzia reginae) can also be found here. People often mistake these for heliconia, however they have a different plant classification.