Herbs & Plants (Spices)

Asarum caudatum

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Botanical Name : Asarum caudatum
Family: Aristolochiaceae
Genus: Asarum
Species: A. caudatum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Piperales

Synonyms: Asarum hookeri Fielding & Gardner, Asarum rotundifolium Raf.

Common Names: British Columbia wild ginger, western wild ginger, or long-tailed wild ginger.

Habitat :Asarum caudatum is native to Western N. America – British Columbia to California. It grows on deep shade in moist pine woods and redwood forests. Understory of conifer forests, usually in mesic or wet places from sea level to 1200 metres and occasionally to 2200 metres.

Asarum caudatum is an evergreen Perennial growing to 0.1 m (0ft 4in) by 0.3 m (1ft) at a fast rate. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from Jul to August. The flowers are distinct, hirsute (hairy), cup-shaped, and brown-purple to green-yellow which terminate in three, long, gracefully curved lobes, often concealed by leaves. The long rhizomes give rise to persistent reniform (kidney/heart shaped) leaves. Leaves are found in colonies or clusters as the rhizome spreads, forming mats. The leaves emit a ginger aroma when rubbed.

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 and neutral soils. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) or semi-shade (light woodland). It prefers moist soil.

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. Special Features:Attractive foliage, North American native, Fragrant foliage, Inconspicuous flowers or blooms.

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.
Edible Uses: Condiment; Tea.
The root can be used as a ginger substitute. The root has a pungent, aromatic smell like mild pepper and ginger mixed, but more strongly aromatic. It can be harvested all year round, but is best in the autumn. It can also be dried for later use. Leaves are a tea substitute.

Medicinal Uses:
The root is laxative, stomachic and tonic. A tea made from the root is used in the treatment of colds, colic, indigestion and stomach pains. The root is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use. The whole plant is analgesic, antirheumatic, appetizer and tonic. A decoction is used externally to treat headaches, intestinal pain and knee pains. A poultice made from the heated leaves is applied to boils, skin infections and toothaches, whilst a decoction of the leaves is used as a wash on sores.

Other Uses :
A useful ground-cover plant for deep shade, spreading by its roots.Landscape Uses:Ground cover, Woodland garden.

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


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