Asarum caudatum Lindl.
British Columbia wild ginger, Long-tail wild ginger
Aristolochiaceae (Birthwort Family)
Synonym(s): Asarum caudatum var. caudatum
USDA Symbol: ASCA2
This mat-forming groundcover grows less than 1 ft. tall but up to 3 ft. wide. The main stem creeps along the ground with two leaves growing from each stem node. The large, heart-shaped, dark-green, persistent leaves hide the unusual, fuzzy, reddish-brown to greenish-yellow flowers borne from lower leaf axils. The bizarre brown-purplish to yellowish or greenish flower is hidden by heart-shaped leaves growing in pairs from trailing, rooting stems that form dense patches.
There are 2 other western species: Hartweg’s Wild Ginger (A. hartwegii), found in southern Oregon, northern California, and southward along the Sierra Nevada, usually has mottled leaves, and appendages on anthers longer than the pollen sacs; and Lemmon’s Wild Ginger (A. lemmonii), from the Sierra Nevada, with calyx lobes 1/2 (1.3 cm) long or less.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Root Type: Tap
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Shape: Cordate , Reniform
Leaf Venation: Palmate
Leaf Pubescence: Glabrous
Leaf Margin: Entire
Breeding System: Flowers Bisexual
Size Notes: Height 7-10 inches, spreading widely.
Leaf: Dark green
Flower: Flowera 1-2 1/2 inches long. Sepals white inside with single median stripe.
Size Class: 0-1 ft.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Yellow , Green , Purple , Brown
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug
Bloom Notes: Flowers long lasting, hidden by leaves.
DistributionUSA: CA , ID , MT , OR , WA
Native Distribution: CA Coast Ranges from Santa Cruz Mts., n. to B.C. & n.w. MT
Native Habitat: Deep, redwood or yellow pine forests below 5000 ft.
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil Description: Moist, rich soil.
Conditions Comments: Wild ginger provides an extensive ground cover for large areas. It can be too rampant for smaller sites.
BenefitUse Ornamental: Makes an effective groundcover for shaded areas.
Use Food: The aromatic stems and roots were used by early settlers as a substitute for the tropical ginger.
Fragrant Flowers: yes
Fragrant Foliage: yes
PropagationPropagation Material: Clump Division , Seeds
Description: Propagates easily from rhizome divisions or seed.
Commercially Avail: yes
Find Seed or Plants
Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.
National Wetland Indicator Status
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden - Santa Barbara, CA
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR
BibliographyBibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.
Search More Titles in Bibliography
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Asarum caudatum in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Asarum caudatum in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Asarum caudatum
MetadataRecord Modified: 2009-11-23
Research By: TWC Staff