Cheilocostus speciosus differs from the common ginger by having only one row of spirally arranged leaves. The species reproduces vegetatively by rhizome, and birds disperse the seeds when they feed on the fruits.
This plant is cultivated in South Asia and Southeast Asia for its medicinal uses, and is cultivated elsewhere as an ornamental. In some areas Cheilocostus speciosus is introduced and has become an invasive species.
The habitat where this species is found is roadside ditches and low-lying areas in the forest. The flowering season starts after the rainy season, from October to December.