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Asarum canadense Plant of Merit

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Kemper Code:  B460

Common Name: wild ginger
Zone: 4 to 6
Plant Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Aristolochiaceae
Missouri Native: Yes
Native Range: Manitoba to North Carolina
Height: 0.5 to 1 foot
Spread: 1 to 1.5 feet
Bloom Time: April - May   Bloom Data
Bloom Color: Purplish brown
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Low


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Plant Culture and Characteristics

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  Uses:       Wildlife:   Flowers:   Leaves:   Fruit:
Hedge Suitable as annual Attracts birds Has showy flowers Leaves colorful Has showy fruit
Shade tree Culinary herb Attracts Has fragrant flowers Leaves fragrant Fruit edible
Street tree Vegetable   hummingbirds Flowers not showy Good fall color   Other:
Flowering tree Water garden plant Attracts Good cut flower Evergreen Winter interest
Gr. cover (<1') Will naturalize   butterflies Good dried flower     Thorns or spines

General Culture:

Easily grown in average, medium to wet, well-drained soil, in part shade to full shade. Prefers constantly moist, acidic soils in heavy shade. Spreads slowly by rhizomes to form an attractive ground cover for shade areas.

Noteworthy Characteristics:

Wild ginger is a Missouri native spring wildflower which occurs in rich woods and wooded slopes throughout the State. Basically a stemless plant which features two downy, heart-shaped to kidney-shaped, handsomely veined, dark green, basal leaves (to 6" wide). Cup-shaped, purplish brown flowers (1" wide) appear in spring on short, ground-level stems arising from the crotch between the two basal leaves. Flowers are quite attractive on close inspection, but bloom singly on or near the ground and are usually hidden from view by the foliage. Although not related to culinary ginger (Zingiber officinale), the roots of this plant produce a scent that is reminiscent thereof. Fresh or dried roots were used by early Americans as a ginger substitute, but the plant is not normally used today for culinary purposes.

Problems: Click for detailed list of pests and problems.

No serious insect or disease problems. Slugs and snails can be occasional problems.

Uses:

Usually grown as a ground cover in shady areas. Woodland gardens, native plant gardens or naturalized areas. Also may be used for edging.

Missouri Botanical Garden, 2001-2011


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