Wild Ginger Plants
Easyliving Native Perennial Wildflowers
Native Wild Flower Seed & Plants for Home Landscaping & Prairie Restoration
|Shade to part sun||April May||reddish brown||6 inches||Average
Asarum canadense picture Canadian Wild Ginger flower photo by cj
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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.
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.
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
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.
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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.