Hexastylis arifolia (Michx.) Small
Little Brown Jug, Heartleaf, Evergreen Wild Ginger
Aristolochiaceae (Birthwort Family)
USDA Symbol: hear6
The attractive, heart-shaped leaves of this wild ginger are pale, whitish green with dark green veins and margins, the opposite of its close relative, Hexastylis shuttleworthii, which has dark green leaves and whitish green venation. The leaves are up to 8 inches long and held no more than 4 inches off the ground. The common name Heartleaf refers to their shape, while the common name Little brown jug refers to the unusual flowers. The plants are slow-growing and remain in isolated clusters, not forming a mat. They make beautiful, jewel-like additions to the Southeastern woodland garden when scattered among other well-mannered, herb layer forest plants.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Shape: Cordate
Leaf Margin: Entire
Leaf Texture: Smooth
Breeding System: Flowers Bisexual
Size Notes: 2 to 4 inches high
Leaf: Whitish green with dark green veins and margins
Size Class: 0-1 ft.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Purple , Brown
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May
Bloom Notes: Purplish brown, inconspicuous
DistributionUSA: AL , FL , GA , KY , LA , MS , NC , SC , TN , VA
Native Distribution: Southeastern North America, Zones 6 to 8
Native Habitat: Southeastern forests, dry to moist
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Low , Medium
Light Requirement: Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Rich, acidic, moist or dry soils of pH 5 to 6
BenefitUse Ornamental: A good evergreen herb-layer plant for foliage interest in the Southeastern shade garden or woodland landscape.
Use Wildlife: Winter browse
Use Food: Roots used as flavoring by indigenous people.
Use Medicinal: Root extracts and leaf infusions used by indigenous people to treat heart and lung conditions and stomach pain.
Interesting Foliage: yes
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:
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE
BibliographyBibref 1620 - Gardening with Native Plants of the South (Reprint Edition) (2009) Wasowski, S. with A. Wasowski
Bibref 1232 - Native American Ethnobotany (1998) Moerman, Daniel E.
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Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Hexastylis arifolia in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Hexastylis arifolia in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Hexastylis arifolia
MetadataRecord Modified: 2014-04-28