Known to botanists as Hedychium coronarium, this plant now so very closely identified with Hawaii is not a native of the islands. It originates in India, in the foothills of the Himalyas, from whence it was distributed throughout Polynesia, and was brought to the Hawaiian islands in the canoes of Polynesian settlers. There are several closely related varieties of ginger, all known as Awapuhi. There are red and yellow versions of the flowers, but the one that is most closely associated with Hawaii is the Awapuhi ke, the sweetly scented flowering white ginger. The White Ginger was also used in food and medicine, as well as enjoyed in leis and for its lovely scent. The leaves and stalks were used to wrap fish and pork before cooking them in the underground oven, the imu.
From about mid February