Asarum is a genus in the Aristolochiaceae family with species found in Asia with the major distribution in Japan and China, one species from Europe and a few in North America. Commonly called wild ginger, these are low growing plants with rhizomes. In most species the flowers appear in the spring and are hidden beneath their foliage.
Asarum arifolium is an evergreen North American species with silvery markings. In colder weather, leaves in exposed positions may take on a purplish hue. Photos by Jay Yourch.
Asarum canadense is a deciduous North American species that has brown purple flowers in the spring. Photos by John Lonsdale.
Asarum caudatum is found in the United States and Canada in shady moist areas. It has evergreen cordate leaves with red-brown flowers. Photos by Mary Sue Ittner.
Asarum europaeum subsp. europaeum is an evergreen species that grows wild in Europe and Siberia in shady moisty woods, on the soil. Its slender rhizome grows just under the leaf litter. Leaves are roundish-kidney shaped, glossy, up to 8 cm (subsp. caucasicum has ovate leaves). Flowers appear in spring and are brown outside and dark purple inside, tubular, 3-lobed, about 1 cm in size. They often also stay beneath the leaf litter and have to be dug up to be seen. Photo 1 by Gianluca Corazza, Photo 2 and 3 by Martin Bohnet
Asarum maximum is from China. It is evergreen with green mottled gray leaves and deep maroon flowers that appear in spring. Photo by John Lonsdale.
Asarum sp. from China. Photos by John Lonsdale.