By Common Name‎ > ‎Wildflowers N-Z‎ > ‎

Western Wild Ginger

Western Wild Ginger, Wild Ginger or Long-tailed Ginger, Asarum caudatum

Western Wild Ginger, photographer Martha Rasmussen

This is one of the most fascinating flowers and many times goes unnoticed by the casual observer as these plants grow very low to the forest floor often times partially obscured by organic matter.  The plants spread through the rich humus by rhizomes often times forming into dense mats. The stems and leaf stalks are covered with a thick white hair all the way to the base of the flower.  The brownish-purple color of this flower is not able to seen by bees and is pollinated by crawling insects.

Western Wild Ginger plant, photographer Martha Rasmussen

The glossy leaves are heart-shaped and  somewhat leathery.  When the leaves are rubbed they admit a subtle ginger fragrance.  The Latin word Caudatum means a tail, which refers to the long lobes of the flower having resemblance to a tail. The Western Wild Ginger has a far reaching range from British Columbia, east to Idaho and down south to the San Fransisco Bay area where it can find moist shaded forest lands.