Wild Ginger

Wild ginger (Asarum canadense)Common name: Wild ginger, Canadian wild ginger

Botanical name: Asarum canadense

Virtues: Works as a groundcover in shade. Serves as a host plant for larvae of the pipeline swallowtail butterfly. The roots are edible and they smell and taste like ginger, though the plant is not related to culinary ginger (Zingiber officinale).

Flower: One brownish-colored flower occurs per plant, mostly hidden below the leaves, in spring.

Foliage: Two heart-shaped dark green leaves per plant. These grow out of the plant’s base, not from a stem. Can be six inches wide.

Habit: Grows under one foot tall and slightly wider. Perennial groundcover.

Season: Summer.

Origin: Woodlands of eastern North America, from Manitoba south to North Carolina.

Grow in part shade or shade, in moist, rich soil. Prefers slightly acidic soil. Will slowly spread by rhizomes (underground stems). USDA Zones 3–7.

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2 thoughts on “Wild Ginger

  1. Was not aware that it was the host plant for the pipevine swallowtail butterfly. Will keep my eyes open for it since I have a lot of this ginger. It spreads very fast.

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