Unfortunately, we've had a Garlic Mustard problem for several years in the small forest at the back of our property. Largely due to the efforts of the fishman, it's now mostly under control. (To see a photo of Garlic Mustard to help identify it, check the link in the first paragraph.)
To help keep it away, I'm thinking we need more Wild Ginger!
This attractive, native ground cover plant with heart-shaped foliage grows naturally in our woods, along with False Rue Anemone, Trillium, Bloodroot, and many other wildflowers.
Wild Ginger's unassuming, tiny flower hides under its foliage, and until recently I had trouble locating the flowers. In my garden, thick Oak leaf mulch covers the base of each plant. But it's a fun scavenger hunt to find the flowers where the plant's paired stems meet.
You feel a little like you're exposing a shy creature, because the tiny magenta blooms seem to shun exposure.
A. canadense is native to all 48 lower U.S. states, but now is found mostly east of a line from from North Dakota south to Louisiana, according to the USDA. There are other Wild Gingers in the U.S. and around the world. A. canadense retains its foliage throughout the growing season. Each plant grows to about 6-12 inches in height and spreads to about 12-18 inches.
Its roots taste similar to culinary Ginger, according to the Missouri Botanical Garden, although I haven't tried it. I want every plant I have firmly in the soil.
A. canadense prefers partial to full shade. It grows in most USDA zones and prefers moist, acidic soils--although it tolerates average, medium to wet soils. Rabbits and deer tend to avoid it, but it's a food source for the pipevine swallowtail butterfly.
This is a plant I've taken for granted in the past. Now I hope to propagate more--to establish it as a ground cover and to chase away the Garlic Mustard.
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This is PlantPostings' 200th post. I've posted one to three times per week since October 2010, with only one lengthy break earlier this month. I'm still enjoying the journey, and I hope you are, too. Thanks for visiting my blog and continuing to share your garden stories.