Common Name: wild ginger
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Native Range: Manitoba to North Carolina
Zone: 4 to 6
Height: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: Purplish brown
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium to wet
Suggested Use: Ground Cover, Naturalize, Rain Garden
Tolerate: Deer, Heavy Shade, Erosion, Wet Soil
Easily grown in average, medium to wet, well-drained soil, in part shade to full shade. Prefers constantly moist, acidic soils in heavy shade. Spreads slowly by rhizomes to form an attractive ground cover for shade areas.
Wild ginger is a Missouri native spring wildflower which occurs in rich woods and wooded slopes throughout the State. Basically a stemless plant which features two downy, heart-shaped to kidney-shaped, handsomely veined, dark green, basal leaves (to 6" wide). Cup-shaped, purplish brown flowers (1" wide) appear in spring on short, ground-level stems arising from the crotch between the two basal leaves. Flowers are quite attractive on close inspection, but bloom singly on or near the ground and are usually hidden from view by the foliage. Although not related to culinary ginger (Zingiber officinale), the roots of this plant produce a scent that is reminiscent thereof. Fresh or dried roots were used by early Americans as a ginger substitute, but the plant is not normally used today for culinary purposes.
No serious insect or disease problems. Slugs and snails can be occasional problems.
Usually grown as a ground cover in shady areas. Woodland gardens, native plant gardens or naturalized areas. Also may be used for edging.