Asarum canadense Linnaeus
Aristolochiaceae (Birthwort) Family
The plant is a herbaceous perennial spring wildflower which forms dense colonies in the understory of deciduous forests and native throughout the State.
Basically a stemless plant which features two downy, heart-shaped to kidney-shaped, handsomely veined, dark green, basal leaves.
The flowers are cup-shaped, purplish brown, about 1 inch wide, appearing in spring on short, ground-level stems arising from the crotch between the two basal leaves. The flowers are quite attractive on close inspection, but bloom singly on or near the ground and are usually hidden from view by the foliage.
Although not related to culinary ginger (Zingiber officinale), the roots of this plant produce a scent that is reminiscent of the real deal. Fresh or dried roots were used by early Americans as a ginger substitute, but the plant is not normally used today for culinary purposes.