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I planted tumeric and lesser galangal in the same garden plot. I have a bunch of very similar-looking plants. Is there a reasonably easy way to tell them apart?

I suspect I have only one lesser galangal plant up, and I think it is this because the leaves are a bit bigger, but I am not at all sure. The leaves, apart from size, look identical and the plant I think that is lesser galangal has leaves that look more or less identical to commercially available tumeric leaves (but the tumeric plants I have are a bit smaller). Since this is narrowed down to two possibilities based on what was planted, I don't believe that images would help, so much as textual descriptions separating the two plants.

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  • Yeah I have only seen them in pictures, but I think the gangal does have broader leaves... At least you didn't plant ginger too, right? – Grady Player Mar 10 '13 at 4:23
  • I have ginger there too, but the plants look very different from Tumeric and Lesser Galangal. Leaves are narrower and the plant is far more upright. the arrangement of leaves is different too. – Chris Travers Mar 10 '13 at 4:44
  • Well I guess it depends on which ginger, as they are all 3 gingers. – Grady Player Mar 10 '13 at 5:54
  • By ginger here I mean culinary ginger. Yes they are all in the same family. But culinary ginger is about as distinct from the others as a gallical rose plant is from a hybrid tea rose (meaning to say similar leaves but otherwise very little resemblance). – Chris Travers Mar 10 '13 at 6:49
  • More than same family, at least tumeric and gangal are in the same genus. I am not sure what the binomial for what I call ginger is. – Grady Player Mar 10 '13 at 7:29
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I eventually did some more research and found that I didn't have any galangal growing yet at all. No idea why it doesn't like that area. I was also able to locate galangal in neighbor's gardens for visual comparison.

It turns out that galangal is more similar to ginger than tumeric in its growing pattern. Tumeric has a bunch of leaves coming from a short stock, while galangal has a tall stock with alternating leaves. The leaves are much more broad but tougher and less obviously veined than ginger.

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