Herbaceous perennial plant (Zingiber officinale; family Zingiberaceae), probably native to South Asia, or its aromatic, pungent rhizome, which is used as a spice, flavouring, food, and medicine. The spice has a slightly biting taste and is used, usually dried and ground, to flavour breads, sauces, curry dishes, confections, pickles, and ginger ale. The fresh rhizome is used in cooking. The leafy stems of the plant bear flowers in dense conelike spikes. Oil distilled from the rhizome is used in foods and perfumes.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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