Family: Aristolochiaceae

These small, rhizomatous perennials are native mainly to North America but also eastern Asia and Europe. They make excellent groundcover in woodland gardens, shrub borders and the like, but they are not as widely grown in gardens as they deserve to be. The flowers that they produce are pitcher-shaped but they are often hidden by the dense foliage.


A. canadense, wild ginger, has kidney-shaped leaves, brownish purple flowers in spring and a pungent rootstock. It grows to about 30 cm (12 in) tall. A. caudatum grows to the same height, and produces heart-shaped leaves on long stalks and brownish red flowers in the summer. A. europaeum produces drooping greenish purple or brown flowers and shiny green leaves. This species grows to a height of about 25-30 cm (10-12 in).


These woodland plants would be difficult to grow in warm or tropical regions. They need a moist, rich soil and are propagated by division of the rhizome.


Cool. Suitable for zone 7 and above but A. europaeum can grow in zone 5.

Arundinaria      Asparagus