A highly popular groundcover, Wild Ginger's large heart-shaped leaves can be 6" in diameter, and its sturdy rootstocks create a dense network that creeps to cover woodland slopes. Once established, a cover of Wild Ginger can fend off Garlic Mustard and other invasives. As a woodland native this deer resistant plant enjoys shade and tolerates a variety of soil types. An attractive dark red flower, usually hidden from view by the foliage, blooms in early spring and fades fairly quickly.
An excellent member of the shade garden, Asarum canadense is most often used as groundcover, or in a naturalized landscape setting. It also makes a good edging plant. Transplants spaced one foot apart will form a solid cover in two to three years. Wild Ginger keeps its foliage throughout the season, making it a good choice to plant with spring ephemerals that go dormant after they bloom. Combines well with a host of other natives, such as Maidenhair Fern, Lady Fern, Ostrich Fern, Jacob's Ladder, Wild Blue Phlox, Zig Zag Goldenrod
- to name a few.
Although not related to culinary ginger (Zingiber officinale), the roots of Wild Ginger produce a scent that is similar to ginger (or, some say cardamom). Fresh or dried roots were used by early Americans as a ginger substitute, but the plant is not normally used today for culinary purposes.
Naturally occurs: Rich, heavily shaded woods, wooded slopes, sometimes rocky, mesic forests.
Also of note: A member of the Pipevine family (Aristolochiaceae), Wild ginger is host plant for the Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly.
AKA: Woodland Ginger, Canada Ginger, Asarabacca, Cat’s Foot, Colic Root, Coltsfoot, Heart-Leaf, Indian Ginger, Namepin, Snakeroot, Sturgeon Potato