Content Detail

European wild-ginger is a colonizing ground cover that looks similar to the native species, except for having smooth rather than hairy leaves.

  • Family (English) Pipevine
  • Family (botanic) Aristolochiaceae
  • Tree or plant type Ground cover, Perennial
  • Native locale Non-native
  • Size range Small plant (6-12 inches)
  • Light exposure Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily), Full shade (4 hrs or less of light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7
  • Soil preference Acid soil, Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, Wet sites
  • Season of interest early spring, mid spring, late spring, early summer, midsummer, late summer, early fall, mid fall
  • Flower color and fragrance Inconspicuous, Other
  • Shape or form Creeping
  • Growth rate Moderate

Size and Method of spreading:

European wild-ginger is a relatively short plant, usually staying under 6 to 8 inches high. It is a colonizing ground cover. Colonizing ground covers produce underground stems that spread out horizontally and shallowly, produce roots and then send up new shoots. These plants are strong growers and may have the potential to grow aggressively.

Native geographic location and habitat:

This plant is native to wooded areas in southern Europe.

Leaf description:

The leaves arise from the base of the plant (basal). They are heart-shaped with entire margins. In mild winters, the foliage may be semi-evergreen.

Flower description:

Flowers of wild-ginger are often overlooked as they are held below the foliage and are brownish-purple in color. The small flowers are produced in spring and have three triangular sepals that curl backward.

Fruit description:

The fruit is a capsule and not ornamentally important.

Plant Care:

European wild-ginger grows best in partial to full shade and needs a consistent supply of moisture.

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances:

European wild-ginger has no common problems other than slugs, but is tolerant of deer and black walnut toxicity.


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