The plant grows 60 to 90 cm (2 to 3 ft) high, with long, narrow leaves and pale green flowers. The plant is vegetative reproduced by planting its rhizome segments. The fleshy, aromatic rhizomes are commonly referred to as roots, they are harvested when the plant is about a year did and are washed, dried, bleached by liming or by the sun, and then shipped, peeled or unpeeled.
The rhizomes are processed in several different ways. Preserved ginger is made by boiling tender rhizomes in a sugar solution and packing them in syrup or in sugar coating. Unpeeled rhizomes may be scalded in boiling water before drying to make black ginger, without scalding, the product is green ginger. When pre boiled, peeled, and bleached, the rhizomes are marketed as white ginger.
Ginger is grown for its rhizome, which is widely used as a spice. It is available as the bleached, fresh whole root, sliced and preserved in sugar, or dried and boxed as a powder.