Ginger, Wild (Asarum caudatum) live root, organic
Family: Birthwort (Aristolochiaceae)
Hardy to Zones 4 to 8
(Western Wild Ginger) Evergreen perennial broadleaved groundcover native to the western US. An ancient and comely plant, with leathery, shiny, heartshaped leaves, to 6 inches tall, flowering wine. Flowers in late winter are rarely seen, nestled below the leaves and often within the mulch, colored mauve with long tails, showy when seen. Ant-pollinated, they drop their seeds and create new seedlings from time to time. Traditional usage (American Indian, TWM): stomachic, antinauseant, sweat-inducing to treat fevers, culinary spice. Cautions: This plant contains small concentrations of aristolochic acid, which is a potent nephrotoxin. Large doses of wild ginger can be damaging to the liver and kidneys and can readily cause emesis (puking). Therefore the plant is considered a low to no-dose botanical. It is, however, extremely comely in the moist, richly leaf-mulched forest garden, companions favorably with goldenseal, cohosh, bloodroot, etc. and worth growing just for that. Very nice along waterways and will even grow within the stream bed. We provide rooted tip cuttings with the leaves removed. Nestle the cutting down into the mulch of shade garden or forest, with the roots firmed into the mineral soil and the entire planting well-mulched with rotted leaves. The plant dislikes potted culture and is best planted in habitat and allowed to roam. The plant will dig in, extend its live tip, and push out new leaves. These are readily transplanted and propagated in exactly this manner. Space cuttings 2 feet apart.
Live root certified organically grown