Sunday, October 31, 2010

Canadian Wild Ginger (Asarum canadense)

Canadian Wild Ginger

The Canadian Wild Ginger, or Canadian Snakeroot, has two large velvety heart shaped leaves and produces one flower close to the ground between March and May. Found in moist woods, it can grow up to 12 inches tall and is sometimes used for groundcover in landscaping.

Its common name is derived from the odor of the stem and roots which is similar to culinary ginger, a different species. The plant has been used as seasoning and as a medicinal herb by Native Americans. Canadian Ginger does contain aristolochic acid, a toxin that can cause cancer and kidney failure. Health Canada advises consumers against using products containing it.

Purdue University lists these other common names for the plant: Asarum, Indian Ginger, Canada Snakeroot, Vermont Snakeroot, Heart Snakeroot, Southern Snakeroot, Black Snakeroot, Coltsfoot Snakeroot, Black Snakeweed, Broad-leaved Asarabacca, False Coltsfoot, Colicroo.

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1 comment:

  1. Certainly would never like to eat it now I've read this post!

    I’ve now used all the allotted space for photos on Pictures Just Pictures and have started a new blog so I can carry on. It’s called

    Message in a Milk Bottle

    I’ve given it a different look but its purpose is unchanged - a photo a day.