This evergreen clump-forming perennial from the Zingiberaceae (ginger) family has arching, glossy foliage, which is very aromatic. It is sometimes known as 'false cardamom' because of this characteristic. True cardamom, from which the culinary spice comes (Elettaria cardamomum), is a taller plant (to 3 m) with matt foliage that is covered in fine hairs, and which is not particularly fragrant!
Alpinia nutans grows to about 1 to 1.5 m in height and grows via rhizomes to form a substantial clump over time. It will grow in basically any type of soil and prefers a position in part to heavy shade. It doesn't demand a lot of water and doesn't seem to attract any pests or diseases. It rarely flowers in cultivation but the blooms resemble those of shell ginger (Alpinia zerumbet) and appear in November. It is an excellent plant for a shaded, tropical-style garden area, combining well with other shade-loving foliage plants such as bromeliads. The only maintenance required is to thin out the clump every few years in late winter and remove dead leaves occasionally. The plant comes from South-east Asia.