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Bransford, W.D. and Dolphia
Asarum caudatum Lindl.
British Columbia wild ginger, Long-tail wild ginger
USDA Symbol: ASCA2
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
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.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Herb 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.
Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Yellow , Green , Purple , Brown
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug
Bloom Notes: Flowers long lasting, hidden by leaves.
CA , ID , MT , OR , WA Canada: BC 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. USDA Native Status: L48(N), CAN(N)
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
Clump Division , Seeds Description:
Propagates easily from rhizome
divisions or seed. Commercially Avail:
From the National Organizations Directory
According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden
- Santa Barbara, CANative Seed Network
- Corvallis, OR
Recommended Species Lists
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Record Modified: 2009-11-23
Research By: TWC Staff