The ginger -like ( Zingiberales ) are an order of plants of Commeliniden within the monocots ( monocotyledons ).

The distribution is almost purely tropical. There are many types that can be used as ornamental plants. The most important food plants in this order are the bananas. Many important aromatic and medicinal plants are included here.


They are mostly herbaceous plants with rhizomes. Some species (eg bananas) form " pseudostems " that allow them to "palm -like" effect, but this does not become woody stem axis. The usually large, simple leaves are smooth-edged, they are usually in the leaf sheath, petiole and leaf blade divided, a feature that is not very common in monocots plants. Unlike the majority of the monocots Blattaderung is not parallel annoying, but the wires arise all along the main sheet nerve. As an adaptation to the high humidity and low light intensity in tropical rainforests we interpret the large leaf blade.

The usually hermaphroditic ( unisexual in the Musaceae ) flowers are zygomorphic and threefold. There are two circles, each with three bloom cladding available and the bloom of the two circuits are designed differently. Most part of the stamens is back - or remodeled so that only one to six fertile stamens are present. Three carpels are fused into one inferior ovary.

The flowers formula is:

There capsule fruits or berries are usually formed.


The orders Zingigerales and Commelinales are sister groups.

The ginger -like ( Zingiberales ) include eight families:

  • Costaceae: it contains seven genera and about 110 to 120 species with pantropischer distribution.
  • Canna plants ( Cannaceae ): it contains only one genus with about 19 species, only in the Neotropics: Canna ( Canna )
  • Orchidantha ( syn.. Lowia Scort, Protamomum Ridl, Wolfia Post & Kuntze. )

Cladogram by Kress et al. 1997:









In each case the Cannaceae with the Marantaceae and the aromatic Zingiberaceae with the non-aromatic Costaceae are sister groups - together they form a core group of Zingiberales. The other four families are more isolated.


  • The order of Zingiberales in APWebsite. ( Section systematics and description)
  • The order of Zingiberales at the National Museum of Natural History ( NMNH ) of the Smithsonian Institution. With an identification key to the families. ( Section systematics and description)
  • WJ Kress, LM Prince, WJ Hahn & EA Rooms: Unraveling the evolutionary radiation of the families of the Zingiberales using morphological and molecular evidence, In: Systematic Biology, 50 ( 6 ), 2001, pp. 926-944.
  • WJ Kress & Specht CD: The evolutionary and biogeographic origin and diversification on the tropical monocot order Zingiberales, in JT Columbus, EA Friar, JM Porter, LM Prince & MG Simpson ( eds.). Monocots: Comparative Biology and Evolution. Excluding Poales. , Aliso, 22, 2006, pp. 621-632.
  • WS Judd, CS Campbell, EA Kellogg, PF Stevens & MJ Donoghue: Zingiberales, Plant Systematics: A Phylogenetic Approach, 3rd edition, Sunderland, Massachusetts: Sinauer Associates, 2007, pp. 301-302. ISBN 978-0-87893-407-2.
  • Short overview of the order and the associated families. ( German )