Asarum canadense (Canadian Wild Ginger)
|Also known as:|
|Habitat:||part shade, shade; rich woods|
|Bloom season:||April - May|
|Plant height:||4 to 12 inches|
|USDA PLANTS database:||Minnesota county distribution map|
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Flower is tubular with 3 dark red to brown triangular petal-like sepals with elongated tips. The tube is ¾ to 1 inch across; the flower is up to 2 inches across from tip to tip. The inside of the tube is creamy white; in the center is a ring of 12 stamens around the 6 reddish brown styles. The outside of the tube is covered in long white hairs, especially near the base. A plant has a single flower that lies on the ground at the base of the plant.
Leaves and stem:
Each plant has a pair of basal leaves on stems up to 6 inches long. Leaves are heart to kidney shaped with a pointed or rounded tip and a deep cleft at the base, the underside densely covered in soft hairs. The leaf stems are gray-white, also densely covered with soft white hairs. On a mature plant, leaves are 6 to 8 inches long and wide, but are less than half that size when the plant first blooms.
Notes:Wild Ginger tends to grow in colonies. The flower color makes it easy to miss among the brown leaf litter in the woods in spring, but once spotted is easy to recognize. It is not related to the ginger plant popular in Asian cooking.
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Photos taken at Battle Creek Regional Park, St Paul, MN and Nerstrand Big Woods State Park, Nerstrand, MN May 2008
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?