Heartleaf Wild Ginger (Hexastylis arfolia)

Heartleaf Wild Ginger generally grows to 6 inches in height and spreads 12 to 24 inches in width. It is noted for being a good ground cover that spreads by rhizomes or under ground roots. The heart shaped leaves grow on long stems that rises in pairs from the rhizomes. The flowers show in mid spring and brownish red to purple, cup shaped and are commonly called “little brown jugs”.

The flowers are rarely seen because they are located below the foliage. They are pollinated by ants and other crawling insects. It prefers slightly acidic, moist, well drained soils. In the wild you will find this ginger on the forest floor with some dapple light (part to full shade). It is difficult to grow from seeds so the easiest was to propagate is by dividing and transplanting. I wish more plant growers would offer Heartleaf ginger for public sale. Generally it is evergreen and make a wonderful groundcover in your shade garden.

The Cherokee would make a tea that was given to stop bleeding. They also made an infusion to the roots for heart trouble.


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