Wild ginger is a native wildflower with heart-shaped, light green leaves and unusual, brown and white flowers. It is a rhizomatous perennial plant that grows in forests and woodlands in Eastern North America.
It forms colonies and is used as a groundcover in shady areas. The stems have the scent of ginger and were used by early Americans as a substitute for unrelated culinary ginger (Zingiber Officinale).
The plants produce a pair of leaves at the ends of the stems and in the spring, a flower is produced at the base of the leaves. The flowers are cup-shaped and consist of 3 petal-like sepals with recurved, pointed apices.
The sepals are maroon-brown and the center of the flower has an intricate, brown and white pattern and brown stamens. Wild ginger is deer resistant and the foliage is very ornamental. It is grown in woodland gardens, native plant gardens, and naturalized areas. Hardy in zones 4-7.