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British Columbia wildginger, creeping wild ginger, long-tail wild ginger, western wild ginger, wild ginger

birthwort family, Dutchman's-pipe family, pipevine family

Habit Herbs or lianas [shrubs, rarely trees], deciduous or evergreen, often aromatic.

horizontal, shallow, internodes (0.5-)1.5-6.5 cm.


blade not variegate, cordate, 3-8.5 × 4.5-12 cm, apex usually obtuse, occasionally broadly acute;

surfaces abaxially sparsely appressed-hirsute, at least proximally, adaxially glabrous or sparsely appressed-hirsute, marginal hairs perpendicular to margin or curved toward apex.

blade unlobed, margins entire.


terminal or axillary, racemes or solitary flowers, rarely fan-shaped cymes.



peduncle 1.5- calyx tube cylindric, externally brown-purple, rarely greenish, hirsute, internally white, usually with median purple stripe, with usually purple, rarely white hairs;

distal portion of sepal spreading or weakly (rarely strongly) reflexed at anthesis, (11-)30-75 mm, apex filiform-attenuate, abaxially purple or greenish, sparsely hirsute, adaxially purple, puberulent with crisped purple hairs;

pollen sacs 1.5-2 mm, sterile tip of connective on inner stamens purple, 0.5-1 mm, shorter than pollen sacs.


calyx enlarged, petaloid, usually tubular, [1-,] 3-, [6-, rarely 5-]merous, lobes valvate;

corolla usually reduced to scales or absent;

stamens 5, 6, or 12 [multiples of 3 or 5], free or adnate to styles and stigmas, forming gynostemium;

anthers extrorse;

pistil 1, 4-6-carpellate;

ovary inferior, partly inferior, or superior;

placentation axile (and ovaries 4-6-locular) or parietal;

ovules many per locule, anatropous.


capsules [follicles], regularly to irregularly loculicidal, rarely indehiscent [septicidal].


often flattened;

endosperm copious.


with broad medullary rays.


= 26.

Asarum caudatum


Phenology Flowering spring–summer (Apr–Jul).
Habitat Understory of conifer forests, usually in mesic or wet places
Elevation 0-1200(-2200) m (0-3900(-7200) ft)
from FNA
[WildflowerSearch map]
[BONAP county map]
Primarily pantropical and subtropical
[BONAP county map]

In most populations of Asarum caudatum, the distal portion of the sepal is spreading or weakly reflexed and 30-75 mm. A single population south of Mt. Shasta, California, has the distal sepals strongly reflexed and unusually short, often as little as 1.1 cm. Flowers of these plants superficially resemble those of A. lemmonii; they differ in being horizontal, not descending as in A. lemmonii, and in the filiform-attenuate sepals.

Native Americans used Asarum caudatum medicinally to treat headaches, intestinal pain, knee pain, indigestion, boils, tuberculosis, and colic, and as a general tonic (D. E. Moerman 1986).

(Discussion copyrighted by Flora of North America; reprinted with permission.)

Genera 5, species ca. 600 (3 genera, 28 species in the flora).

(Discussion copyrighted by Flora of North America; reprinted with permission.)

1. Calyx bilaterally symmetric, usually bent or curved; ovary inferior; stems erect, twining, or procumbent.
1. Calyx radially symmetric, straight; ovary inferior, partly inferior, or superior; stems rhizomatous.
→ 2
2. Sepals distinct; anthers each with prominent terminal appendage; styles connate in column; ovary inferior.
2. Sepals connate for most of length; anthers without terminal appendages; styles distinct (except sometimes at extreme base); ovary superior or ca. 1/3-inferior.
Source FNA vol. 3. FNA vol. 3, p. 44. Authors: Kerry Barringer, Alan T. Whittemore.
Parent taxa Aristolochiaceae > Asarum
Sibling taxa
A. canadense, A. hartwegii, A. lemmonii, A. marmoratum, A. wagneri
Subordinate taxa
Aristolochia, Asarum, Hexastylis
Name authority Lindley: Edwards's Bot. Reg. 17: footnote after plate 1399. (1831) Jussieu
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