Saturday, May 23, 2009

Back to Nature Part 3

Another fascinating native plant is called Wild Ginger. It is a very low-growing woodland plant. The leaves are an interesting heart shape. It produces very unusual dark brownish to deep burgundy flowers at ground level. The flowers are not visible from above the plants. Ants pollinate the flowers. Wild Ginger reproduces by rhizomes or seeds.

Although Wild Ginger is not related to the ginger root that you can buy in a grocery store, it can be used to flavour many dishes. Early pioneers used it fresh or dried as a ginger substitute. It is also said to have medicinal properties. Aboriginal peoples used this plant as a cure for many ailments, including digestive disorders.

I dug this little plant up because it had seeded itself into another part of the garden where I did not want it. I am going to give it to my daughter to plant in her garden. She is eager to grow a large patch of them so that she can experiment with using this plant as a ginger substitute! I was able to take a photo of the flower this way too!

Family: Aristolochiaceae. Genus: Asarum. Species: A. canadense
Common name: Wild Ginger

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