Asarum europaeum – European Wild Ginger – Asarabacca – Heterotropa – Hexastylis – Wild Ginger


Asarum – Heterotropa – Hexastylis – Wild Ginger

There are over 70 species of deciduous and evergreen rapidly growing, low rhizomatous perennials, in this genus.  They are found in woodlands in Europe, Eastern Asia, and North America.  They produce large, usually glossy, sometimes marbled leaves. Under the leaves kidney or heart shaped dull brownish or purplish flowers that open at the mouth into 3 sharply arched or bent sharply back sepals.  The rhizomes are aromatic somewhat like ginger.  They’re better known for their traditional medicine.  A great plant to use as a groundcover or in a woodland garden.

Grow in partial to full shade in moderately fertile, humus rich, moist but well drained, preferably neutral to acidic soil.  Divide in early spring every few years.

Prone to slugs and snails, leaf gulls, and rust.

Asarum europaeum – European Wild Ginger – Asarabacca – This western European evergreen perennial species grows to 3” tall and spread to 12” or more wide.  This creeping hairy rhizomatous, carpet forming plant produces kidney to circular shaped, glossy dark green leaves 2-3” long and 2” wide.  In late spring it bears small greenish purple, bell shaped, short lobed, flowers up to ¾” long turn brown.  Formerly used medicinally and as ingredient in snuff powders but is moderately toxic.

Zones 5-9