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Kahili ginger

Native to India and Nepal, kahili ginger is a perennial plant known to invade many different types of ecosystems. Kahili ginger has become a major weed in a number of countries, including New Zealand and Hawaii. In Australia, it occurs in New South Wales, Victoria, and Tasmania.

Kahili ginger's popularity as a garden plant increases the risk of it establishing and spreading in Queensland. Kahili ginger suppresses growth of native trees and displaces native understorey plants.

Kahili ginger is a restricted invasive plant under the Biosecurity Act 2014.

Scientific name

Hedychium gardnerianum

Other names

  • Kahila garland-lilly, yellow ginger lily, wild ginger

Similar species


  • Perennial plant 1-2m tall.
  • Leaves are alternate, ovate-elliptic, 20-60cm long, 8-18cm wide.
  • Flowers are produced in attractive spikes 12-45cm long.
  • Flowers are lemon-yellow with conspicuous red stamens.
  • Seed heads are bright red when mature, 1.5-1.8cm long.


  • Prefers wet habitats and fertile soils between sea level and 1700m.
  • Known to invade rainforests, mountain forests, agricultural areas, coastland, disturbed areas, natural forests, planted forests, range/grasslands, riparian corridors, scrub/shrublands, urban areas and wetlands.


  • Occurs in South East Queensland and far north Queensland.

Life cycle

  • Observed to live for 70 years with no signs of dying out.
  • Flowers year-round.



  • Forms dense stands.
  • Suppresses recruitment of native trees and displaces native understorey plants.
  • Changes structure and character of native rainforest vegetation.

How it is spread

  • Seed spread by birds.
  • Also spread by dumping of unwanted plants.


Physical control

  • Dig out plant including rhizomes.

Herbicide control

Biological control

  • No known biological control agents.

Legal requirements

  • Kahili ginger is a restricted invasive plant under the Biosecurity Act 2014.
  • It must not be given away, sold, or released into the environment without a permit.
  • The Act requires everyone to take all reasonable and practical steps to minimise the risks associated with invasive plants and animals under their control. This is called a general biosecurity obligation (GBO).
  • At a local level, each local government must have a biosecurity plan that covers invasive plants and animals in its area. This plan may include actions to be taken on certain species. Some of these actions may be required under local laws. Contact your local government for more information.

Further information