Asarum eurpaeum with seedlings

Asarum europaeum Family: Aristolochiaceae
(ah-SAR-um yur-oh-PAY-um)

Common name: European wild ginger; hazelwort; wild
spikenard; asarabacca
Zone: 3 – 8
Height: 3-6 in (7-15cm) Spread: 12-18 in (30-45cm)
Aspect: partial shade; full shade
Soil: moderately fertile; well-draining
Water: moderate

Description: An evergreen perennial with a slowly spreading, ground-covering habit. Rounded, kidney-shaped, bright green, glossy leaves show their distinctive veining. Leaf stems are covered in very fine, soft hairs. Bell-shaped, brownish-dull purple flowers appear in mid-spring. Look for them laying atop the soil, hidden under the leaves.


Special Notes: Native to Europe. This is a wonderful ground-cover plant but is slow to establish. Be patient. Roots are sometimes harvested for use as a spice or flavouring. Long ago the crushed leaves were used in snuff. Relatively pest- and disease-free. Rust and leaf gall may be a problem in some climates. Deer and rabbit resistant. Propagate by fresh seed; divide in early spring or autumn. Will self-sow.


RHS Award of Garden Merit 2007; Great Plant Pick 2011


Posted on April 18, 2013