WESTERN WILD GINGER Asarum caudatum

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Asarum caudatum (British Columbia wild ginger, western wild ginger, or long-tailed wild ginger) is a native perennial of forests of North America (USA and Canada). It has evergreen foliage, with flowers that develop from March to August. The flowers are distinct, hirsute (hairy), cup-shaped, and brown-purple to green-yellow. The long rhizomes give rise to persistent reniform (kidney/heart shaped) leaves. Leaves are found in colonies or clusters as the rhizome spreads, forming mats. The leaves emit a ginger aroma when rubbed.

Caudatum comes from the Latin cauda meaning tail. This refers to the tail-like shape of the flower's calyx.

Asarum caudatum is found in British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, Northern California, Idaho, and Montana in moist, shaded environments. It is a typicaly found in the understory of mixed conifer forests, and is often a dominant plant.

Type: Hardy perennial

Hardiness zones: 6-9

Height: 20 cm, 8"

Location: Shade or part shade

Note: Ornamental use only. These plants or seeds may be poisonous.

Germination: As with many perennial seeds, these seeds benefit from a period of moist cold to help them begin to grow. This is done by giving them a cold 'winter' period (natural or artificial), and then a warming to simulate 'spring', and time to grow! Here's how this can be done:

Obtain a planting container that has holes in the bottom for excess water to drain. Place the seeds just under the surface of your growing medium, and water. Place your container in a cold area (but not freezing, perhaps a refrigerator) for 4-6 weeks. Once the cold period is completed, place the container at room temperature for them to germinate. Be sure to keep the soil moist during this entire germination period. Seedlings will sprout a few weeks, or occasionally several months, after the warming period.

If you are planting your seeds in late winter or spring, these seeds can be planted outdoors while it is still cool out (once the ground is workable and unfrozen), to receive the cold period naturally in the garden.


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