Asarum europaeum

Description: A low and spreading ground cover plant with attractive dark green evergreen foliage good in shady places. Exotic hooded purple-red flowers on short stems appear in the spring nestled under glossy rounded leaves. The sweetly pungent roots give rise to their common name of 'hardy ginger'.

Also good in a pot/container in a shady corner where you are more likely to see the flowers.

Climate/Position: Cool shade or partial shade

Height/Spread: Only 15 cm x 30 cm with good but not invasive spreading capacity.

Soil Requirements: Tolerant of lime (higher pH). Prefers humus-rich soils which do not dry out in summer. A light mulch of leaf mould or garden compost every one or two years to maintain soil fertility.

Pruning: No pruning, low maintenance, can divide in spring.

Special Requirements: Can be divided in early spring.

Asarum europaeum has been valued and cultivated as a medicinal herb since the 13th century. The plant was once grown for its purgative properties and also used as an ingredient in snuff.