Wild ginger is an evergreen plant with thick roots, and trailing stems with heart-shaped leaves on long stalks. The flowers are purple and bell-shaped, with three petals. The whole plant smells like lemon-ginger when crushed.
RANGE & HABITAT
It is found growing in many places in North America. In B.C., it’s found mostly in southern areas, and almost always in damp shaded woodlands.
Wild ginger starts blooming in April, and the flowers grow into egg-shaped fruits. It sprouts easily from pieces of the root.
Not many animals eat this plant, and it is poisonous to some caterpillars and fly larvae.
TRADITIONAL FIRST NATIONS USES
First Nations peoples made tea from the roots, poultices for headaches and other pains and bedding for babies from the leaves.
It is a very valuable garden plant, and many people still eat the roots in teas and as a ginger substitute.
COSEWIC: Not at Risk