Asarum canadense Canadian Wild Ginger Plants
(as-AIR-um  ka-na-DEN-see)
Easyliving Native Perennial Wildflowers
Native Wild Flower Seed & Plants for Home Landscaping & Prairie Restoration

Asarum canadense picture Canadian Wild Ginger flower picture Habitat Bloom
Period
Color Height
Inches
Moisture Plant
Spacing
Lifespan
asarum canadense, Canadium Wild Ginger plant picture  Shade to part sun April May reddish brown 6 inches Average 
to 
moist
12 inches Perennial

Asarum canadense picture Canadian Wild Ginger flower photo by cj 

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Asarum canadense (Wild Ginger) potted plants are available, $4.00 each plus shipping
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Canadian Wild Ginger potted plants 
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Asarum canadense, Wild Ginger or Canadian snakeroot is excellent for the shade wildflower garden.  The attractive Ginger leaves are dark green, round, and up to 7 inches across.  Single reddish brown bell shaped flower up to 1 inch across are hidden near the ground under the leaves.  Ginger often forms colonies in moist woods, valleys and ravines.  Canadian Wild ginger has been used as a seasoning in cooking.   Birthwort Family (Aristolochiaceae).

Plant native Canadian Wild Ginger plants with other native woodland wildflowers like  Columbine  Green Dragon  American Spikenard  Jack-in-the-pulpit  Goat's Beard  Wild Geranium  Virginia Bluebells  Woodland Phlox  Jacob's Ladder  Bloodroot  Celandine Poppy   Woodland Spiderwort  Purple Trillium   White Trillium  Blue Cohosh  Black Cohosh  Shooting Star  Ginseng   Christmas Fern   Dutchman's Breeches 

  The Abnaki used a decoction of the plant in combination with another plant for the treatment of colds.  The Ojibwe used the roots of this plant as an appetizer by putting it in any food as it was being cooked.  It was also used for indigestion.  The Iroquois used the roots to treat scarlet fever, colds, urinary disorders, and headaches.  The Cherokee used the plant for a wide variety of medicinal purposes.  The roots were used to treat coughs, colds, heart trouble, and blood medicine.  The Meskwaki used the roots for many things.  The cooked root was put into the ear for earache or sore ears.  When one could not eat certain things, this root was cooked with these foods and it rendered them palatable.  Mud catfish were cooked with Canadian wildginger to improve its flavor.  When the root was chewed and the fisherman used the spittle on the bait, it enabled him to catch catfish.  The Menomini used the fresh or dried roots of Canadian wildginger as a mild stomachic.  When the patient was weak or had a weak stomach and it might be fatal to eat something he craved, he was fed a part of this root.  Whatever he wanted could then be eaten with impunity.  The Micmac also used the root as a stomachic and to treat cramps.  The Potawatomi used the root to flavor meat or fish and render otherwise inedible food, palatable.

 Canadian wild ginger may be an alternate food source for the pipevine swallowtail butterfly (Battus philenor). 
Birthwort Family (Aristolochiaceae).  This herbaceous perennial is hairy, especially the petioles and calyx.  The leaves are cordate-rotund to cordate-reniform, mostly 8-12 cm wide at anthesis, and larger at maturity.  The solitary, red-brown flowers are 2-4 cm.  They are short peduncled, arising between the pair of leaves.  The fruit is capsular, opening irregularly.  The seeds are large, ovoid, and wrinkled.  The rhizome produces annually a pair of petiolate, broad, hairy leaves and these are deciduous at the end of the season.

 Asarium canadense Wild ginger plants are found in rich woods, usually in colonies from New Brunswick and Quebec to Ontario and Minnesota, south to North Carolina, northern Alabama, and northern Louisiana.

  Asarium canadense Wild ginger is somewhat difficult to start from seed and much easier by division.  Gather the mealy fruits when they first begin to split.  Clean the seeds, washing off all of the pulp that might inhibit germination and sow them outdoors immediately.  They should be planted in a shaded seedbed and well watered throughout the summer for good germination the following spring.   Note that the seeds of Canadian wild ginger, if stored before planting, should not be kept dry.  They should be placed in sealed plastic bags at 40 F and in slightly moist vermiculite.  Seeds can also be sown in plugs and transferred several times to larger pots.  They should be place in a greenhouse for three months and then moved to a cold frame for three months before planting out in the garden.

 Divide mature plants in early autumn when they start to go dormant.  With the appropriate garden tool, cut through the rhizome at intervals of 6-8 inches.  Another method is to leave the parent plant in place and divide sections from the edges of the clump.  Replant the new divisions right away and water them thoroughly

The map below shows areas where Asarium canadense Canadian Wild Ginger plants grow wild but they can be planted and will grow over a much wider area than shown.  
USDA plant hardiness zones 3 to 9.

Asarum canadense
Canadian WildGinger

Alabama
Arkansas
Connecticut
Delaware
Georgia
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Vermont
Virginia
West Virginia
Wisconsin

Asarium canadense Wild ginger State Distributional Map

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Asarium canadense Wild ginger Plant distribution map complements of USDA, NRCS. 2001. The PLANTS Database, Version 3.1
  (http://plants.usda.gov). National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.