Common Name: wild ginger
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Native Range: Southeastern United States
Zone: 6 to 9
Height: 0.50 to 0.75 feet
Spread: 0.50 to 1.00 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
Tolerate: Deer, Heavy Shade
Grow in average, medium to wet, well-drained soil, in part shade to full shade. Prefers constantly moist, acidic soils in heavy shade. Not reliably winter hardy in the St. Louis area, so if grown here, it should be placed in a protected location and mulched in winter.
This plant, which is also known as mottled wild ginger, is native to moist woodlands in the Appalachian Mountains (Virginia to Georgia) and features evergreen (in mild winters), rounded to heart-shaped (4" long), aromatic leaves which are usually mottled with silvery gray markings. Vase-shaped, 2" long, purplish brown flowers with reddish purple spots inside appear in spring. Flowers are quite attractive on close inspection, but bloom singly on or near the ground and are usually hidden from view by the foliage. Rhizomatous plant that is very slow spreading. Although not related to culinary ginger (Zingiber officinale), the roots and leaves of this plant produce a scent that is reminiscent thereof. This plant has in the past been used as a ginger substitute, but it is not normally used for culinary purposes at this time.
No serious insect or disease problems. Slugs and snails can be occasional problems.
Usually grown as a ground cover for shady areas. Also may be used for edging.