When we started planting epiphytic ferns on the mango trees in the garden two years ago, we had no clue that the rich organic matter that came with it were proverbial seed beds for still a big variety of air plants that we will only discover much later. One of the most fascinating among these stow-aways is this aerial Ginger (left, apparently Hedychium cyclindricum), which emits a sweet fragrance like its cousin, the terrestrial cámia. It has small, pinwheel-like white flowers with just a hint of orange. From the ground, it's barely noticeable in the lush aerial fernscape but while working up on a ladder, its fragile flowers add visual interest to the variety of our epiphytic garden.
But after the flowers wilt, an even more attractive bract (some texts call it "throat") appears (below). Most gingers behave like this, but none as attractive as this particular epiphyte. The bract is firm, textured, and stays just like in the photo for more than a week. Last season, I did not try obtaining seeds from the bract though; I am not even sure if it does produce seeds. But it looks like, doesn't it? Terrestrial gingers produce rhizomes underground but I don't think this does.
It will still be some days that we get to keep this wonder in the garden.