2021 – Wild Ginger
Wild ginger is a low-growing and vigorous plant that grows in rich woodlands from Louisiana to Canada. In dense shade, its heart-shaped leaves will appear a velvety, dark green. In the spring, small, dark purple flowers emerge on the underside of its leaves. This is a prolific, deciduous plant that spreads through underground rhizomes to create a lush groundcover. Wild ginger can be incorporated into any shade-loving garden bed.
This herbaceous perennial plant benefits native wildlife in various ways; since it is among the first wildflowers to bloom, its flowers provide nectar and shelter for early pollinators. Additionally, its seeds contain a fatty appendage, known as an elaiosome, that is eaten by ants. By taking the seeds back to their underground homes to eat, ants subsequently disperse and plant them. Wild ginger is also said to be an alternate host plant for the Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly.