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Genus of around 11 rhizomatous, evergreen perennials originally from tropical rainforest climates in India and Sri Lanka. One species is widely cultivated for use as a culinary spice. Foliage is similar to reeds and showy, 3-petalled white flowers with pink veining are produced on specialised, horizontal flowering stalks. They grow and fruit best in tropical conditions but may be grown effectively as foliage plants in temperate climates when kept in a greenhouse.