Zingiber clarkei is an unusual ginger species from shady situations in the sub-tropical forests of Bhutan and north-eastern India from 600 m to 1,500 m.
The leafy stems can grow to about 2 m tall with large leaves up to 40 cm long and 9 cm wide but the plant is smaller than this in a container flowering at about 1 m. Unusually for a Zingiber species the inflorescence is borne at the top of the leafy shoots rather than at the base of the plant. In other gingers this character has been enough for some botanists to separate plants into different genera. The inflorescence does not necessarily emerge right at the tip of the shoot but pushes out of the stem a little from the top. The flowers emerge two or three at a time from the green inflorescence bracts and are orange-yellow flushed brownish-red at the edge of the laebllum.