Asarum europaeum

Common Name: European wild ginger 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Aristolochiaceae
Native Range: Central and western Asia, Europe
Zone: 4 to 7
Height: 0.25 to 0.50 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: Greenish-yellow to brown
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Ground Cover, Naturalize
Flower: Insignificant
Tolerate: Deer, Black Walnut


Easily grown in humusy, slightly acidic, consistently moist but well-drained soils in part shade to full shade. May self-seed in the garden. Plants do not perform well in the hot and humid summer temperatures of the deep South.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Asarum europaeum known as European wild ginger is native to moist, open woodland areas in central to southern Europe. It is a creeping ground cover which typically grows to 4" tall but slowly spreads to 15" wide or more. Thrives in shady areas. It is primarily grown for its glossy, leathery, heart-shaped to kidney-shaped, dark green leaves (to 3" across) which remain evergreen in mild winters. Tiny, bell-shaped, greenish yellow flowers (to 1/2" wide) bloom in late spring to early summer. Flowers are hermaphroditic and are pollinated by flies. Flowers are usually not observed because they bloom at ground level and are covered by the dense foliage. Root has a mild ginger aroma.

Genus name comes from the Latin and Greek name.

Specific epithet means European.


No serious insect or disease problems. Slugs, snails and leaf gall are occasional problems. Watch for rust.


Ground cover for shady areas of woodland gardens, rock gardens and borders.