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Wild Ginger Asarum canadense


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Wild Ginger
credit: Chris S. Packard/CCSA

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Alternate name: Canadian Wild Ginger

Family: Aristolochiaceae, Birthwort view all from this family

Description Native herbacious perennial. native to deciduous forest in
Roots are shallow-growing, fleshy rhizomes that branch to form a clump. Leaves are kidney-shaped and persistent. Flowers are hairy and have three sepals, tan to purple on the outside and lighter inside, with tapered tips and bases fused into a cup.

Warning Touching this plant can cause skin irritation in some people.

Flower Springtime.

Flower April - May

Habitat Deciduous forest floor.

Range Eastern North America, from the Great Plains east to the Atlantic Coast, and from southeastern Canada south to approximately the fall line in the southeastern United States.

Discussion Other common names are: Canadian wild ginger, Canadian snakeroot and broad-leaved asarabaccais.

This plant is listed as a threatened species in Maine.

Comments The fleshy rootstock, which has a strong, gingery flavor, can create a crowded network on the woods floor, resulting in a dense ground cover of wild ginger. A mulch of leaves in spring and fall is beneficial.

Exposure Preference Shade.

Native Distribution Quebec & New Brunswick to Ontario & Minnesota, s. to Florida & Louisiana

Site Preference Moist woods; limestone ledges

Soil Preference Moist, rich soils. pH 4.5-6.0.