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   The Zingiberales order is made up of eight families of mostly tropical plants that are commonly grown as ornamentals.  Many also have culinary and medicinal uses.  Specific characteristics which distinguish the Zingiberales from other plants include large leaves with parallel venation and often long petioles, and inflorescences composed of colorful bracts.  The following families make up the Zingiberales order:

•Cannaceae (cannas) - With one genus (Canna) and about 50 species.

•Costaceae (costus) - Includes four genera and over 150 species with about 20 species, Dimerocostus (two species) and Monocostus (one species).

•Heliconiaceae (heliconias) - With one genus (Heliconia) and between 200 and 250 species.

•Lowiaceae (orchidantha) - With one genus (Orchidantha) and five to eight species.

•Marantaceae (prayer plants) - Includes 30 genera and between 450 and 500 species.

•Musaceae (bananas) - Made up of three genera, Musa (35 species), Ensete (seven species) and Musella (one species).

•Strelitziaceae (birds of paradise) - Includes three genera, Strelitzia (three species), Ravenala (one species) and Phenakospermum (one species).

•Zingiberaceae (gingers) - The largest family of the order Zingiberales, with with approximately 50 genera and over 1,000 species. 



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