The showy flower that resembles an easily recognizable musical instrument is called the Maracas. It is not a gourd filed with pebbles, but a member of the Ginger family! Its scientific name is Zingiber spectabilis. It is also known as Awapuhi in Hawaii, as well as Beehive, Pinecone and Shampoo Ginger.

This plant is throught to have originated in India and was moved eastward through Polynesia. It is possible that it was brought to the Hawaiian Islands in the canoes of early Polynesian settlers. Maracas are now grown in warmer Central America having tropical climates similar to the South Pacific.

A stunning plant, it reaches 7 feet in height, with long narrow leaves arranged oppositely on the stems. (Dwarf varieties can grow up to 4 feet high.) In mid-summer, separate stalks grow out of the ground with green cone-shaped bracts that resemble pinecones. The green turns red over a couple of weeks, then small creamy yellow flowers appear on the cones. The uses for this beautiful plant are many and varied. It makes an excellent fast-growing landscape plant in mild areas, with beautiful cone-shaped flowers that are long-lasting both on the plant and in cut arrangements. The milk substance in the cone is used in several commercial shampoos and has been used as hair care products for centuries.

Its medicinal properties are legendary, used for medicine for sprains, indigestion, stomach pains and toothaches. For sprains, the root was ground with a stone mortar and pestle and the pulp placed in a cloth and loosely bound around the injured area. To ease the discomfort of a stomachache, the ground, strained root material was mixed with water and swallowed. For a toothache or to treat a troublesome cavity, the cooked and softened root was pressed into the affected area and left for as long as needed.

In addition, your bouquet also has two stems of Red Ginger, known as Alpinia purpurata, which is native to Malaysia. It is also known as Ostrich Plume and Pink Cone Ginger. Also included are two small Heliconia, very commonly known as Tropic Fleur.

Your bouquet is made even more beautiful with Raphis Palm that surrounds it, as well as several stems of always stunning leaves of the novelty Ti plants.

We hope you enjoy your mini-vacation to Hib!

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