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Asarum forbesii

Botanical Name: Asarum forbesii
Family: Aristolochiaceae
Genus: Asarum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Piperales

Common Name: Du Heng

Habitat :Asarum forbesii is native to E. Asia – C. China.It hails from moist woodland valleys below 2,500′ in the Chinese provinces of Anhui, Henan, Hubei, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Sichuan, and Zhejiang. It grows on moist shady places in forests in valleys at elevations under under 800 metres.
Description:
Asarum forbesii is a perennial herb growing to 0.2 m (0ft 6in).
In the garden, Asarum forbesii ‘Mercury’ resembles a smaller Asarum arifolium, making a slowly expanding clump composed of 3″ wide, heart-shaped leaves of green, highlighted by attractive silver blotches. From April through June (NC), the foliage covers the basal clusters of small liver-colored flowers.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES
Rhizomes vertical, 1-2 mm in diam., internodes 0.5-1 cm. Leaves solitary; petiole 3-15 cm, glabrous; leaf blade adaxially dark green with white blotches along midvein, broadly cordate to reniform-cordate, 3-8 × 3-8 cm, abaxial surface glabrous, adaxial surface with short hairs along midvein, base cordate, lateral lobes 1-3 × 1.5-3.5 cm, apex obtuse to rounded; cataphylls reniform-cordate or obovate, ca. 1 × 1 cm. Peduncle ascending, 1-2 cm. Calyx dark purple, cylindric to campanulate, 1.5-2.5 × ca. 1 cm; sepals connate beyond attachment to ovary, abaxially glabrous; tube subcylindric, 1-1.5 × 0.8-1 cm, not constricted at throat, adaxially tessellate, orifice ring less than 1 mm wide; lobes broadly ovate, 0.5-0.7 × 0.5-0.7 cm, base smooth. Stamens 12; filaments much shorter than anthers; connectives slightly extended beyond anthers, rounded. Ovary half-inferior. Styles free, apex 2-lobed; stigmas lateral. Fl. Apr-May.

The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Flies.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) or semi-shade (light woodland).

Cultivation:
We have very little information on this species and do not know if it will be hardy in Britain, though judging by its native range it should succeed outdoors in many parts of this country. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus. Prefers a rich moist neutral to acid soil in woodland or a shady position in the rock garden. Plants are hardy to at least -15°c. The flowers are malodorous and are pollinated by flies.   Plants often self-sow when growing in a suitable position.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe in the summer. Stored seed will require 3 weeks cold stratification and should be sown in late winter. The seed usually germinates in the spring in 1 – 4 or more weeks at 18°c. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in light shade in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out when large enough in late spring. Division in spring or autumn. Plants are slow to increase. It is best to pot the divisions up and keep them in light shade in the greenhouse until they are growing away strongly.
Medicinal Uses: The root is used in the treatment of goitre, cough, fever and worms. Continued use of this plant gives the body a fragrant odour

Known Hazards: Although no reports of toxicity have been found for this plant, at least 3 other members of this genus have reports that the leaves are toxic. Some caution is therefore advised in the use of this plant.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asarum
http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=2&taxon_id=200006649
Asarum forbesii Mercury
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Asarum+forbesii

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