Saruma henryi
Common Name: upright wild ginger 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Aristolochiaceae
Native Range: Central China
Zone: 5 to 8
Height: 1.50 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 1.50 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: Soft yellow
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Colorful


Easily grown in rich, humusy, moist but well-drained soils in part shade to full shade. Established plants tolerate some dry soils. Plants will slowly spread in the garden by creeping rootstocks. Plants may self-seed in the garden in optimum growing conditions.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Saruma henryi, commonly called upright wild ginger, is a clumping, shade-loving perennial that is native to forests, valleys and streambanks in China. It grows in a slowly-spreading mound to as much as 2' tall and 3' wide, and features downy, rounded, heart-shaped leaves (to 5" wide) that emerge with a silvery sheen in spring but mature to green. Leaves remain attractive throughout the growing season. Leaves are fragrant when bruised. Showy, three-petaled, yellow flowers (to 1" wide) bloom in spring from the leaf axils on upright stems rising above the foliage, often with sporadic continued bloom throughout summer. This plant is somewhat similar in foliage appearance to the wild gingers (Asarum) native to North America, Europe and Asia (Saruma is an anagram of Asarum), but differs by being slightly larger, more upright and bearing showy unconcealed flowers. Saruma henryi is a monotypic genus.

Genus name of em>Saruma is an anagram of Asarum.

Specific epithet honors Augustine Henry (1857-1930), Irish physician, plant explorer/collector and forester who spent 20 years in Central China (1881-1900) collecting seeds, specimens and plant samples for shipment to the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew.


No serious insect or disease problems.


Shady areas of the landscape. Woodland gardens and naturalized areas. Specimen or mass.