Wild Ginger
Asarum canadense
Uses: Medicinal/Poisonous! Duration: Perennial (hardy in zones 3-8)
(Indian ginger) Woodland plant with aromatic roots like true ginger. Its low height and attractive leaves make it a good groundcover or edging plant for the shade garden. In spring the heart-shaped leaves pop up like a crowd of umbrellas over the small, maroon-coloured flowers borne at the base of the plant. An antibiotic herb with bitter qualities, it was an important Amerindian remedy for indigestion, coughs, colds, fever, sore throat, flatulence and nervous conditions. Leaves smell strongly of ginger, and European settlers used it as a substitute for tropical ginger when they first arrived in North America. The plant prefers a well-drained location with rich, moist soil and shade similar to the woodlands where it occurs naturally. It spreads quickly and will grow even under dense shade. Deer and other animals leave it alone. Rhizomes are best harvested in the fall; and to keep plants coming back year after year, leave some roots behind when digging.
CAUTION: Wild ginger roots have low levels of aristolochic acids, which Health Canada and the FDA warn should not be ingested. While the focus of the warnings has been on Chinese herbs with much higher levels of these compounds, caution is warranted until more is known about the safety of wild ginger.

P2862-300 Plants (Apr-June shipment) $8.95/ea, $24.15/3 plants, $85.80/12 plants
Currency: United States Dollar

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