Saruma is a single species genus in the Aristolochiaceae family, closely related to Asarum of which its name is an anagram. It is thought to be the oldest member of this family and is the only one to have fully developed petals. See Introduction to the Aristolochiales
Saruma henryi is from the mountains of China where it grows in shady and moist areas. It starts flowering in Spring, is deciduous, and is reputed to be very hardy. The epithet honours Augustine Henry (1857 - 1930), the Irish physician and plant explorer who sent specimens back to Kew; see 'Saruma Henryi' by Eric Hsu. Photos by David Pilling taken in North West England, the first two at the end of April 2011, of plants grown from AGS seed exchange surplus seed sown in January 2009. The plants shown are about six inches high; the ultimate height should be over a foot. The rhizome is used in Chinese medicine and all parts of the plant are poisonous. It is endangered in the wild. Photo three shows a seed head - it is noticeable the leaves are greener than in the older photos, perhaps as a result of being in shade. Seed is said only to be viable for a very short time - the seeds shown in photo six harvested in August 2013 were stored dry until the 14th January 2014 when they were put in a zip-lock bag with damp kitchen paper and exposed to outside temperatures; they germinated in mid-February 2015. Anecdotal evidence some dry storage is possible and exposure to varying temperatures is required.