Asarum canadense – Wild Ginger
Asarum canadense – Wild Ginger – is a lovely little spreader for shade. The kidney shaped leaves are a fresh apple green and covered in minute hairs, giving the surface a silky sheen. One of the most adaptable and tolerant of the Asarum, tolerating drought, moist sites and alkalinity with equal ease. Deciduous and very hardy.
All of the members of this family are chiefly foliage plants, the curious flowers occurring at ground level. The flowers are fly pollinated and hence have no need to be showy, relying on smell as an attractant. They are plants of the woodland floor and occur on both coasts of North America as well as in the Orient.
Asarum canadense bears the name Wild Ginger, on account of the dried roots substituting for ginger. However, caution should be applied as all parts of Asarum europaeum are very poisonous.
The flowers have a 3 point symmetry and can bear long whip like tails. EA Bowles described the flowers of Asarum shuttleworthii as a ‘buttonhole suitable for the devil.’
Asarum europaeum can be found wild in Britain in Westmorland and the North.
Asarabacca, Hazelwort, Wild Nart – Asarum europaeum (Asarabacca is a combination of the Greek and Lydian names ‘asaron’ and ‘bakkar’
Wild Ginger, Canada Snakeroot, Indian Ginger, Coltsfoot – Asarum canadense