Canadian ginger

Wild ginger groundcover in shade. Photo: Miri Talabac, University of Maryland Extension

Updated: July 12, 2022

About wild ginger or Canadian wild ginger

Asarum canadense
Herbaceous flowering perennial
Birthwort family

Maryland distribution: In rich woodlands in midland and mountain zones; rare on the coastal plain

Height: foliage 4-8 inches high; will spread up to 12 inches under ideal conditions

flowers of Canadian ginger
Canadian ginger flowers Photo: M.Talabac

Blooms: flask-shaped, 1 inch wide, brown to deep maroon flowers with 3 recurved petals appear in late spring hidden under the foliage
Sun:  heavy shade
Soil: prefers woodland conditions of slightly acid, moist but well-drained soils

Garden use & maintenance: Dense groundcover of lovely kidney-shaped leaves, ideal in heavy shade. The foliage withers in late summer drought if not kept moist. Not grown for human consumption.

Wildlife: An alternative food source for the Pipevine swallowtail butterfly caterpillar. Flowers are pollinated by ants, beetles, and fungus gnats.

Deer: Deer generally ignore wild ginger

Compiled by: Ria Malloy, Horticulturist & Program Coordinator, Home & Garden Information Center. 2022

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