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Wild Ginger


Family:  Aristolochiaceae, birthwort family
Genus species:  Asarum canadense

Leaves are large, heart-shaped. Leaf edges are untoothed.

Flower is reddish-brown, produced on a short stalk at the base of the leaves.

Common Uses and Interesting Facts:
Underground rhizomes were used by Native Americans as a seasoning. Plant contains aristolochic acid, a carcinogenic compound. Consumption may cause permanent kidney damage.

More Information:

Asarum is from the Greek for "asarabacca," the common name of European Wild Ginger.  The family name, Aristolochiaceae, is from the Greek for "childbirth," refers to flowers of pipevines (in the same family), shaped like a birth canal.