Asarum canadense

Although it is widely found across the United States Asarum canadense is often referred to as the Canadian Wild Ginger amongst other names. It is a perennial but is not related to the ginger family.

Although regarded as edible in some traditional recipes it does contain toxins and should not be eaten

A woodland plant, this is another low growing species to .1m, excellent as a ground cover plant and also known as ‘snakeroot’. This is a deciduous species that has heart shaped foliage.

Leaves are a mid green and covered with fine hairs which give them a velvety texture. The roots (underground rhizomes) are fleshy and spread slowly to create a carpet in a woodland area.

Like many Asarum species flowers of Asarum canadense are held under the foliage and are not generally a feature, this is used as a ground cover plant, low maintenance and tolerant of damp areas. Best suited to part shade to full shade.


This is a woodland plant that requires dappled to heavy shade and a humus rich moist fertile soil. Best suited to temerate to cooler climates.


  • Best grown in dappled shade to part shade this is a plant that can take fairly deep shade
  • Requires good moisture
  • Is deciduous and can be grown with ferns to create year round interest
  • Slow to establish, after 2-3 years seems to spread well
  • Spreads by underground runners and by self seeding and will form a dense cover.
  • Flowers in spring, however flowers are hidden beneath the foliage and although rather pretty are not often seen.
  • The name ‘wild ginger’ refers to the smell of the root

Asarum Varieties

  • Asarum canadense
  • Asarum caudatum
  • Asarum europeaum
  • Asarum maximum ‘Green Panda’
  • Asarum maximum ‘Ling Ling’
  • Asarum naniflorum
  • Asarum shuttleworthii
  • Asarum splendens
  • Asarum takaoi


Easy by division of established clumps. Also can be grown from seed.


Excellent ground cover plant for a shaded position