Gingers....Zingerberecea as known in science talk is a diverse group of plants that have a few things in common besides their genetic background. Inclusive of of the well know ginger and turmeric and Thai ginger (Alpinia galanga) to lesser known and obscure wild critters ( like this ) that serve no one except eaking out an survival in a remote bog only to be noticed by us humans for perhaps their beauty or even,... dare their uselessness to us. I am sure one mans junk is another's medicine possibly and a reminder that the sun does not revolve around what we can stick in our mouths.
Now down to business.
Edible Ginger and turmeric are cyclical perennials. Every spring around March to May in our hemisphere they use energy stored from the previous season in the form of it's starchy rhizome to push up spikes arising into leafy growth to feed more rhizome growth with any luck. The longer the plant is kept at peak conditions before it's internal clock tells it is sleepy time and thus shed's its foliage the more starch can be stored in the rhizome. A watery ill grown or early harvested rhizome will not produce the same vigor and yields as a ripe starch laden piece. That being said, the initial growth that shoots forth from said rhizome is just the initial spark and even a relatively small seed can produce a good yielding clump given proper environment and nutrition.
vegetative growth to gather sunlight and render starch
flowering (sterile) cycle to
cuticle (skin) formation and fiber formatiom
foliage collapse. (senescence)
Galangal on the other hand is purely perennial. It keeps creep under the soil like vertical antlers slowly dividing and and never going into hibernation like its cousin ginger. It should be noted that because of this it never forms a cuticle or skin on the rhizome and stores rather poorly compared to mature ginger.