Description: Early spring-flowering, North American perennial; unusual, burgundy-brown, jug-like flowers appear at soil level, where they are pollinated by ants
Size: Succulent foliage on 2 to 3 inch, mat-forming plants
Cultural Information: Prefers shade and humus-rich soil; plant shallowly
USDA Zones: 3 through 8
Historical Notes: This herbaceous North American wildflower, called "wild ginger" on account of the ginger-like fragrance and flavor of the roots, was listed by John Clayton of Williamsburg in the early 18th century. The species was introduced to British gardens by 1713 and was reported by Peter Collinson in London. Wild ginger thrives on the wooded slopes of Monticello Mountain where it forms dense carpets. It is a choice native perennial for shade gardens.