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Asarum asaroides

Asarum asaroides was introduced to Europe by the German, Philipp von Siebold, on his return from Japan in 1830.
Asarum asaroides in a pot

Asarum asaroides (Photo: Takato Natsui)

Species information

Scientific name: 

Asarum asaroides (C.Morren & Decne.) Makino

Conservation status: 

Not evaluated according to IUCN Red List criteria.


Woodlands; often growing in deep shade, in valleys or ravines and on north-facing hillsides.

Key Uses: 

Ornamental, food.

Known hazards: 

None known.


Genus: Asarum

About this species

Asarum is a genus (a group of related species) of perennials with underground stems (rhizomes). It occurs across the temperate regions of the northern hemisphere, with the highest concentration of species in China and Japan. Their usually evergreen, long-stemmed leaves can be attractively patterned and the curious, sometimes sinister-looking flowers appear from beneath them, borne on short stalks. The flowers are commonly in shades of dull purple, brown or green.

Taken in its broadest sense, the genus Asarum (wild ginger) contains around 100 species, but in the past it has been split into several smaller genera, separated by minor differences in the flowers. The genus Heterotropa was established by the Belgian botanists Charles Morren and Joseph Decaisne in 1834, and they described one species, H. asaroides, based on the plant incorrectly named Asarum virginicum in Carl Peter Thunberg's Flora Japonica (1784). It was renamed Asarum asaroides by Tomitaro Makino in 1910.


Asarum thunbergii


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