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Asarum europaeum - L.

Common Name Asarabacca, European Wild Ginger
Family Aristolochiaceae
USDA hardiness 4-8
Known Hazards The plant is poisonous in large doses[13, 19], the toxin is neutralized by drying[7].
Habitats Open woodland and waterside thickets[13, 19], especially in beech woodlands[7].
Range Central and southern Europe, east to W. Asia. Naturalized in Britain[17].
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Full shade Semi-shade
Asarum europaeum Asarabacca, European Wild  Ginger


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Illustration_Asarum_europaeum0.jpg
Asarum europaeum Asarabacca, European Wild  Ginger
http://lt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naudotojas:Algirdas

 

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Summary

Bloom Color: Purple. Main Bloom Time: Early spring, Late spring, Mid spring. Form: Spreading or horizontal.


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Asarum europaeum is an evergreen Perennial growing to 0.1 m (0ft 4in) by 0.5 m (1ft 8in) at a slow rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 4. It is in leaf all year, in flower from May to August. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Flies. The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) or semi-shade (light woodland). It prefers moist soil.

Synonyms

Habitats

Woodland Garden Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; not Deep Shade; Ground Cover;

Edible Uses

None known

Medicinal Uses



Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Cathartic;  Diaphoretic;  Emetic;  Errhine;  Sternutatory;  Stimulant;  Tonic.

Asarabacca has a long history of herbal use dating back at least to the time of the ancient Greeks, though it is little used in modern herbalism[268]. The root, leaves and stems are cathartic, diaphoretic, emetic, errhine, sternutatory, stimulant and tonic[4, 7, 9, 13, 21, 46, 240]. The plant has a strong peppery taste and smell[244]. It is used in the treatment of affections of the brain, eyes, throat and mouth[4, 19]. When taken as a snuff, it produces a copious flow of mucous[268]. The root is harvested in the spring and dried for later use[7]. Use with caution[21], see the notes above on toxicity. An essential oil in the root contains 50% asarone and is 65% more toxic than peppermint oil[240]. This essential oil is the emetic and expectorant principle of the plant and is of value in the treatment of digestive tract lesions, silicosis, dry pharyngeal and laryngeal catarrh etc[240].

Other Uses

Dye.

A vibrant apple-green dye is obtained from plant[7, 244]. A useful ground cover for a shady position so long as it is not dry[197], spreading by its roots[208].

Cultivation details

Landscape Uses:Border, Ground cover, Massing, Rock garden, Woodland garden. Prefers a rich moist neutral to acid soil in woodland or a shady position in the rock garden[1, 200]. Other reports say that this plant prefers a calcareous soil[13, 19, 268]. Plants are hardy to at least -15°c[200]. The flowers are malodorous and are pollinated by flies[200]. The root has a pungent, aromatic smell like mild pepper and ginger mixed, but more strongly aromatic. Plants often self-sow when growing in a suitable position[200]. This plant was at one time commonly cultivated as a medicinal herb[17]. Special Features: Attractive foliage, Not North American native, Naturalizing, Inconspicuous flowers or blooms.

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Propagation

Seed - best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe in the summer[134]. Stored seed will require 3 weeks cold stratification and should be sown in late winter[134]. The seed usually germinates in the spring in 1 - 4 or more weeks at 18°c[134]. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in light shade in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out when large enough in late spring. Division in spring or autumn. Plants are slow to increase[200]. It is best to pot the divisions up and keep them in light shade in the greenhouse until they are growing away strongly.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Asarum arifolium 01
Asarum blumei 01
Asarum canadenseSnake Root, Canadian wildginger, Canada Wild Ginger, Wild Ginger33
Asarum caudatumWild Ginger, British Columbia wildginger32
Asarum dilatatum 20
Asarum forbesiiDu Heng01
Asarum heterotropoides 02
Asarum maximum 01
Asarum nipponicum 10
Asarum reflexum 20
Asarum shuttleworthiiAsarabacca, Mottled Wild Ginger20
Asarum sieboldiiWild Ginger02
Asarum takaoi 10

 

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Expert comment

Author

L.

Botanical References

200

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

Marinella Zepigi   Tue Jun 10 2008

Acta plantarum forum botanico Description - Photos - Asarum europaeum L.

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