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Asarum canadense

Wild Ginger / Canadian Wildginger

Wild ginger is a native, spring wildflower that makes a lovely groundcover with its satiny, heart-shaped leaves. Pollinated by ants, its unique purplish brown flowers appear beneath the leaves in spring. Flowers are quite attractive on close inspection, but are usually hidden from view by the foliage. The leaves of Asarum have a spicy fragrance when crushed, but shouldn't be eaten. The roots are edible and can be used as a flavoring like ginger.


  • Attracts butterflies
  • Larval host to pipevine swallowtail butterfly
  • Makes an excellent ground cover, prevents erosion
  • Unique flowers in May, attractive foliage
  • Tolerates deep shade

Homeowner Growing and Maintenance Tips

Asarum canadense grows best in full to dappled shade in moist, rich soils. To use as a groundcover plant one per square foot and water well on planting and through dry periods during the first year. 

4-10 Inches


12-24 Inches

USDA Hardiness Zone 4-6

Native Range

Wild Ginger is found in rich woods and on wooded slopes in most states east of the Rockies.

Distribution Maps by State and County

Native Trivia

The name wild ginger is misleading. It is not the culinary ginger found at your grocery store. The leaves and stems when broken smell like ginger hence the name.

"Groundcovers stabilize soils, protecting habitat and keeping streams clean."

Good Companions
Creek sedge (Carex amphibola)

Characteristics & Attributes

Plan Sub Group
  • Low Perennials
  • Filtered Shade
  • Shade
  • Acidic
  • Humus-rich
  • Well-drained
Soil Moisture Preference
  • Average
  • Moist
  • Moist but well-drained
  • Wet
Attracts Wildlife
  • Beneficial insects
  • Butterflies
Bloom Time
  • Late Spring / Early Summer
Critter Resistance
  • Deer Resistant
Habitat Collection
  • Butterfly
Native Habitat
  • Forest
Foliage Color
  • Green
  • Bog, water garden
  • Border
  • Edging
  • Erosion control
  • Evergreen
  • Ground cover
  • Mass plant
  • Naturalizes
Native to
  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin