E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Asarum caudatum Lindl.
wild ginger
Aristolochiaceae (Birthwort family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Rosemary Taylor  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #20528)

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Distribution of Asarum caudatum
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Species Information

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Perennial herb from extensive rhizomes, forming large mats; stems rooting freely.
Kidney-shaped, shiny, stalked, the blades 2.5-10 cm long, 5-15 cm wide; stalks and veins finely hairy.
Solitary, bell-like with 3 flaring lobes, these long-pointed; corollas purplish-brown to greenish-yellow, 2.5-8.0 cm long.
Fleshy capsules, seeds egg-like with fleshy appendages.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Moist to mesic forests in the lowland and montane zones; frequent in S BC south of 55degreeN, absent in Queen Charlotte Islands and adjacent coast; S to ID, MT and CA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Additional Notes

Asarum caudatum is from the mountains of western North America including BC. It has attractive, somewhat glossy, kidney-shaped foliage which combines well with lacy ferns and bleeding hearts. Intriguing brownish-red flowers appear beneath the foliage so make sure to watch for them.

Note Author: Gary Lewis, Phoenix Perennials


Ecological Framework for Asarum caudatum

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 18 747 1715
Slope Gradient (%) 0 20 87
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 215 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 4 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: CDF(1), CWH(120), ESSF(3), ICH(445), IDF(32), MH(1), MS(4), SBS(24)

Ecological Indicator Information

A shade-tolerant, submontane to montane, Westem North American forb distributed in the Pacific and Cordilleran regions. Occurs in cool temperate and cool mesothermal climates on fresh and moist, nitrogen-rich soils. Its occurrence increases with increasing continentality, and decreases with increasing latitude and elevation. Sparse in coniferous forests, scattered in broad-leaved forests on water­receiving (alluvial, colluvial, floodplain, and seepage) sites. Often associated with Athyrium filix-femina, Oplopanax horridus, and Rubus parviflorus. A nitrophytic species characteristic of Moder and Mull humus forms.

SourceIndicator Plants of Coastal British Columbia (Information applies to coastal locations only)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is cool temperate & cool mesothermal.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Asarum caudatum var. caudatum
Asarum caudatum var. viridiflorum M. Peck

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References