Black Cardamom, Nepal Cardamom
This smallish ginger, originally native to damp, forested valleys from the eastern Himalayas to central China, produces an underground rhizome that gives rise to clusters of evergreen, leafy shoots to about 1.5 m (5 ft.) tall. The pretty, ivory flowers appear in compact inflorescences at ground level and are followed by seed pods that, in dried condition, are widely know as black cardamom or Nepal cardamom and as such very popular in Indian cuisine. The green cardamom, with smoother, lighter colored pods, and more familiar to westerners, is produced by the plant Elettaria cardamomum. Amomum subulatum is also a great ornamental, suitable to all mild and warm temperate climates that do not experience excessive freezes.