Canadian Wild Ginger, Asarum canadense
( Asarum canadense ) aka Canadian snakeroot Bloom Time: Spring (April – May) Location: prefers partial to total shade, and is often found in broadleaf or floodplain forests (general). Found throughout most forested areas in the Arb, particularly in floodplains. There are several large patches near Goodhue and on the western bank of the Cannon River (Arb). Family: Birthwort (Aristolochiaceae) Physical Description: Plants will have a single flower, right next to the base. It is shaped roughly like a white bowl with a red rim and three red threadlike appendages radiating from its edge. Each plant has a pair of velvety, heart shaped, clefted leaves, on furry, greyish stalks. Typically 4-12 inches high. It’s often found growing in colonies, as it spreads through rhizomes. NOTE: this plant is not edible, but its smell is reminiscent of traditional ginger ( Zingiber officinale ). It contains aristolochic acid, a known carcinogen. If consumed, this compound can result in severe kidney damage.