Zingiber officinale Mistakenly called a root, this rhizome is thought to have originated in Southeast Asia. Today most ginger comes from Jamaica followed by India, Africa, and then China. Most ginger that we use in this country is of the powdered variety. Some cooks will tell you that powdered ginger cannot be substituted for fresh, but if you add it very slowly and carefully it can be done. The powdered variety is somewhat stronger than fresh. This is the spice that has long lent its name to the beverages ginger ale and ginger beer (nonalcoholic and alcoholic).