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Wild Ginger · Asarum caudatum
Description: This low-growing (to 6") perennial groundcover with dark green, heart-shaped leaves creeps along the ground and often forms leafy mats. The unique, amazing maroon flowers appear late spring/early summer, but they usually hide under the leaves. This plant has a rich, gingery scent, which the leaves emit when crushed. Wild ginger grows in moist, shaded forests, from British Columbia to California and east to Idaho and northwestern Montana. Wild ginger makes a luscious dark green and delightful ground cover in shaded areas of the garden, provided rich soil and regular water.
Lewis and Clark mentioned Wild Ginger in their journals. While camping along the Lolo Trail, Lewis wrote: "Pott's legg which has been much swolen and inflamed for several days is much better this evening and gives him but little pain. we applyed the pounded roots and leaves of the wild ginger & from which he found great relief."