Asarum canadense, Wild Ginger

Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic

Native to rich, deciduous forests in the eastern half of North America, Wild Ginger is common in much of the Mid-Atlantic Region* although infrequent-to-rare in the Coastal Plain. It naturalizes to create a lush ground cover with velvety, heart-shaped leaves. Historically used as a flavor substitute for culinary ginger, consumption today is ill advised. The Virginia Native Plant Society selected Wild Ginger as Wildflower of the Year for 2010.

Print Version: Asarum canadense, Wild Ginger
Asarum canadense, Wild Ginger Ground Cover Colony, Flowers Height: 1⁄2–1 foot Spread: 1–11⁄2 feet Bloom Color: Brown-purple Characteristics Deciduous perennial ground cover Heart-shaped, veined, medium green basal leaves Tiny, ground-hugging, bell-shaped flowers appear from April to May, hidden by foliage Spreads slowly by rhizomes Attributes Tolerates wet soil and dense shade; drought- intolerant No serious pests or diseases; snails and slugs may feed on leaves in early spring Deer rarely damage (may browse on occasion) Ethnobotanic uses; therapeutic uses (sedative, fever reducer); discouraged as substitute for culinary ginger as it may have toxic compounds Larval host for Pipevine Swallowtail butterflyGrowing and Maintenance TipsSoil Requirements: Acidic (prefers), well-drained Light Requirements: Partial Shade, Shade Water Requirements: Moist Divide mature plants early fall Use as edging, in rain, shade or woodland gardens, or massed on slopes to control erosion Hardiness: USDA Zones 4–6 Excellent Replacement for Glechoma hederacea - Ground Ivy Hedera helix - English Ivy Liriope speciesOrnithogalum nutans & O. umbellatum - Nodding Star-of-Bethlehem & Sleepydick Pachysandra terminalis - Japanese PachysandraVinca minor - Periwinkle

, Learn more about other Mid-Atlantic plants: Tried and True Plant Fact Sheets.