Asarum canadense L.

Canada wild ginger

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New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

Canada wild ginger is found in rich, moist forests in much of New England. It is unrelated to the ginger commonly used in cooking, but the root has a strong, ginger-like flavor. Native Americans used it in cooking and to treat a wide variety of maladies, including coughs, colds, stomach pains, and poor digestion.

Habitat

Forests

Characteristics

Habitat
terrestrial
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Vermont
Flower petal color
NA
Leaf type
the leaves are simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
Leaf arrangement
basal: the leaves are growing only at the base of the plant
Leaf blade edges
the edge of the leaf blade is entire (has no teeth or lobes)
Flower symmetry
there are two or more ways to evenly divide the flower (the flower is radially symmetrical)
Number of sepals, petals or tepals
there are three petals, sepals, or tepals in the flower
Fusion of sepals and petals
the petals or the sepals are fused into a cup or tube
Stamen number
12
Fruit type (general)
the fruit is dry and splits open when ripe
Show All Characteristics
  • Clonal plantlets
    Bulbils
    the plant does not appear to have bulbils
    Bulblets replace flowers
    there are no bulblets where the flowers are located
  • Flowers
    Calyx symmetry
    there are two or more ways to evenly divide the calyx (the calyx is radially symmetrical)
    Carpels fused
    the carpels are fused to one another
    Cilia on petals
    NA
    Cleistogamous flowers
    there are no cleistogamous flowers on the plan
    Corolla morphology
    NA
    Corolla palate
    • NA
    • no
    Corona lobe length
    0 mm
    Epicalyx
    the flower does not have an epicalyx
    Epicalyx number of parts
    0
    Flower description
    the flower has an inferior ovary, with or without a hypanthium
    Flower length
    20–40 mm
    Flower orientation
    the flower points upwards or is angled outwards
    Flower petal color
    NA
    Flower reproductive parts
    the flower has both pollen- and seed-producing parts
    Flower symmetry
    there are two or more ways to evenly divide the flower (the flower is radially symmetrical)
    Flowers sunken into stem
    no
    Form of style
    the style is lobed at the tip, and unbranched
    Fringed petal edges
    NA
    Fused stamen clusters
    NA
    Fusion of sepals and petals
    the petals or the sepals are fused into a cup or tube
    Hairs on inflorescence
    the axis of the inflorescence has hairs entirely without glands
    Horns in hoods (Asclepias)
    NA
    Hypanthium
    the flower does not have a hypanthium
    Inflorescence one-sided
    the flowers are arrayed in a spiral around the inflorescence axis or branches, or occur singly, or in several ranks
    Inner tepals (Rumex)
    NA
    Length of peduncle
    15–30 mm
    Marks on petals
    • NA
    • there are no noticeable marks on the petals
    Nectar spur
    the flower has no nectar spurs
    Number of branches in umbel
    0
    Number of carpels
    4–6
    Number of pistils
    1
    Number of sepals, petals or tepals
    there are three petals, sepals, or tepals in the flower
    Number of styles
    6
    Ovary position
    the ovary is below the point of petal and/or sepal attachment
    Petal and sepal arrangement
    the flower includes only one cycle of petals or sepals
    Petal and sepal colors
    • green to brown
    • pink to red
    Petal appearance
    • NA
    • the petals are thin and delicate, and pigmented (colored other than green or brown)
    Petal base
    NA
    Petal folds or pleats
    • NA
    • the petals of the flower do not have folds or plaits
    Petal glandular dots or scales
    NA
    Petal hairs (Viola)
    NA
    Petal hairs on inner/upper surface
    NA
    Petal length
    0 mm
    Petal length relative to sepals
    NA
    Petal nectaries
    NA
    Petal number
    0
    Petal shape
    NA
    Petal tip shape
    NA
    Petal tips (Cuscuta)
    NA
    Petal width
    0 mm
    Raceme attachment (Veronica)
    NA
    Reproductive system
    all the flowers have both carpels and stamens (synoecious)
    Scales inside corolla
    • NA
    • no
    Sepal and petal color
    NA
    Sepal appearance
    the sepals resemble petals in color and texture
    Sepal appendages
    the sepals do not have appendages on them
    Sepal appendages (Oenothera)
    NA
    Sepal color
    • blue to purple
    • green to brown
    • white
    Sepal length
    6–24 mm
    Sepal number
    3
    Sepal orientation
    the sepals are slightly curved outwards from the corolla
    Sepal tip shape
    the sepal tip is acuminate (tapers to a very narrow point)
    Sepals fused only to sepals
    the sepals are fused to each other (not other flower parts), at least near their bases
    Stamen appendages
    stamen appendages are present
    Stamen number
    12
    Stamen position relative to petals
    NA
    Stamens fused
    the stamens are not attached to one another
    Umbel flower reproductive parts
    NA
    Upper lip of bilabiate corolla
    NA
  • Fruits or seeds
    Achene relative orientation
    NA
    Achene shape
    NA
    Achene surface (Polygonum)
    NA
    Achene type
    NA
    Berry color
    NA
    Capsule color (Viola)
    NA
    Fruit (pyxis) dehiscence
    NA
    Fruit features (Brassicaceae)
    NA
    Fruit locules
    six or more
    Fruit type (general)
    the fruit is dry and splits open when ripe
    Fruit type (specific)
    the fruit is a capsule (splits along two or more seams, apical teeth or pores when dry, to release two or more seeds)
    Legumes (Fabaceae)
    NA
    Mericarp length
    0 mm
    Mericarp segment shape (Desmodium)
    NA
    Other markings on berry
    NA
    Placenta arrangement
    the plant has axile placentation, in which the ovules are attached where the septa of a compound ovary are united, usually on the central axis, or to the septa themselves
    Rows of seeds in fruit (Brassicaceae)
    NA
    Schizocarpic fruit compression
    NA
    Schizocarpic fruit segments
    0
    Seed relative length
    the seed is longer than it is wide
    Septum in fruit (Brassicaceae)
    NA
    Wings on fruit
    the fruit does not have wings on it
    prickles on fruits
    the fruits do not have thorn-like defensive structures
  • Glands or sap
    Glands on leaf blade
    the leaf blades do not have glandular dots or scales
    Sap
    the sap is clear and watery
    Sap color
    the sap is clear
  • Growth form
    Growth form
    the plant is an herb (it has self-supporting stems)
    Horizontal rooting stem
    the plant does not have stolons
    Lifespan
    the plant lives more than two years
    Parasitism
    the plant is not parasitic
    Plant color
    the leaves or young stems of the plant are green
    Plants darken when dry
    no
    Spines on plant
    the plant has no spines
    Underground organs
    the plant has a rhizome (a horizontal underground stem with roots growing from it)
  • Leaves
    Bracteole number (Apiaceae)
    0
    Bracts in plantain (Plantago)
    NA
    Final leaf segment length (compound lvs only)
    0 mm
    Final leaf segment length to width ratio (compound lvs only)
    0
    Final leaf segment width (compound lvs only)
    0 mm
    Floral bract texture
    NA
    Floral bracts
    the flower does not have bracts
    Flower bract length
    0 mm
    Hairs on leaf stalk
    the petiole has hairs on it
    Hairs on underside of leaf
    the underside of the leaf is fuzzy or hairy
    Hairs on upper side of leaf
    the upper side of the leaf is fuzzy or hairy
    Hooked hairs on underside of leaf
    no
    Inflated hairs on leaf
    the leaf blade does not have inflated hairs on it
    Leaf arrangement
    basal: the leaves are growing only at the base of the plant
    Leaf blade base
    the leaf has a distinct leaf stalk (petiole)
    Leaf blade base shape
    the base of the leaf blade is cordate (heart-shaped, has rounded lobes at the base)
    Leaf blade bloom
    the underside of the leaf has no noticeable bloom
    Leaf blade edges
    the edge of the leaf blade is entire (has no teeth or lobes)
    Leaf blade hairs
    the leaf blade has simple hairs with no glands, and not tangled or wooly
    Leaf blade length
    40–200 mm
    Leaf blade shape
    • the leaf blade is cordate (heart-shaped with backward-facing rounded lobes), or sagittate (arrow-shaped with backward-facing pointed lobes)
    • the leaf blade is reniform (kidney-shaped; wider than long)
    Leaf blade surface colors
    the upper side of the leaf blade is relatively uniform in color
    Leaf blade texture
    the leaf blade is scarious (thin and dry like paper) or membranaceous (thin and flexible and almost translucent like a membrane)
    Leaf blade vein pattern
    • the major veins form a net-like pattern due to splitting and rejoining
    • the major veins of the leaf blade branch, but do not rejoin
    Leaf blade width
    80–215 mm
    Leaf duration
    the leaves drop off in winter (or they whither but persist on the plant)
    Leaf form
    the leaves are green, with an expanded blade and a leaf-like texture
    Leaf hair orientation
    the hairs are flat against the leaf surface, mostly pointing towards the leaf tip
    Leaf spines
    there are no spines on the leaf edges
    Leaf stalk
    the leaves have leaf stalks
    Leaf stalk attachment to leaf
    the petiole attaches at the basal margin of the leaf blade
    Leaf stalk base
    the petiole base is narrow where it attaches to the stem
    Leaf stalk length
    60–200 mm
    Leaf teeth and lobes
    the edge of the leaf blade is entire (has no teeth or lobes)
    Leaf tip
    • the tip of the leaf blade is obtuse (bluntly pointed)
    • the tip of the leaf blade is rounded, with no point
    Leaf type
    the leaves are simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
    Leaf types
    NA
    Leaf variation
    NA
    Leaflet number
    0
    Leaflet petiolules
    NA
    Leaves per node
    the leaves are growing only at the base of the plant (i.e., basal)
    Pinnately compound leaf type
    NA
    Specific leaf type
    the leaves are simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
    Stipels
    NA
    Stipule edges
    NA
    Stipule features
    NA
    Stipule fused to leaf stalk
    NA
    Stipule length
    0 mm
    Stipule shape
    NA
    Stipules
    there are no stipules on the plant
    Teeth per side of leaf blade
    0
  • Place
    Habitat
    terrestrial
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
    • Vermont
    Specific habitat
    forests
  • Scent
    Plant odor
    the plant has a pleasant smell, for example anise, fruit, mint or resin
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Branched tendrils
    NA
    Hooked hairs on stem between nodes
    no
    Stem orientation
    the stems trail at the base, but may turn upwards at the tips
    Stem roughness between nodes
    the stem does not feel rough
    Tendril origin
    NA
    Tendrils
    the plant does not have tendrils
    Wings on stem
    the stem does not have wings on it

Wetland Status

Occurs only in non-wetlands. (Wetland indicator code: UPL)

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
present
Maine
present
Massachusetts
present
New Hampshire
present
Rhode Island
present
Vermont
present

Conservation Status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

Maine
extremely rare to rare (S-rank: S1S2), threatened (code: T)
Massachusetts
fairly widespread (S-rank: S4)
Rhode Island
extremely rare (S-rank: S1), concern (uncertain) (code: C*)

Native to North America?

Yes

Synonyms

  • Asarum acuminatum (Ashe) Bickn.
  • Asarum canadense var. acuminatum Ashe
  • Asarum canadense var. ambiguum (Bickn.) Farw.
  • Asarum reflexum Bickn.

Genus

Asarum

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

1.  Asarum canadense L. N

Canada wild ginger. Asarum acuminatum (Ashe) Bickn.; A. canadense L. var. acuminatum Ashe; A. canadense L. var. ambiguum (Bickn.) Farw.; A. reflexum Bickn. • CT, MA, ME, NH, VT. 
Rich, sometimes rocky, mesic forests.