Saturday, July 3, 2010

Wild Ginger (Hexastylis arifolia)

Hexastylis arifolia known by the common names Wild Ginger, Heart-leaf, Little Brown Jug, Arrowleaf Heartleaf and Littlebrownjug. A Fort Yargo State Park where I’ve seen lot of plants along the Rock Garden trail north of the Fishing Area (segment 12) and a few south of the Fishing Area (segment 13). Wild Ginger is easy to recognize by it’s characteristic heart-shaped leaves which have lighter-colored patches between the veins. Older leaves may appear to be coated black and the patches may not be visible.

The woods are covered with a thick layer of leaf litter and I wasn’t sure when these plants would flower in this area. In late April, I carefully cleared away some leaves surrounding a couple of plants and found the flowers beneath them. After I photographed them I replaced the leaves. I watched each week and, over time, flowers of a couple of flowers were observable without removing leaves but must remained covered.

A young plant with typical heart-shaped leaves with distinctly lighter patches between the veins.

Flowers are almost white with a purple tinge. (An older leaf in the upper left appears almost black).

Another view of flowers.

A close up of flowers. These flowers are green with a purple tinge.

Hexastylis arifolia
is native to the United States. Their range is states south and east from Virginia and Kentucky south to Louisiana.

Click on an image to view a larger image

Distribution Map:
- United States Department of Agriculture Plants Database: Hexastylis arifolia (Littlebrownjug)

University of North Carolina Herbarium: Hexastylis arifolia

Identification resources:

- Southeastern Flora: Wild Ginger (Hexastylis arifolia)

Natural and Naturalized Plants of the Carolinas and Georgia: Hexastylis arifolia
Alabama Plants: Hexastylis arifolia

Related posts:
- 2010: Year Of The Wildflower


rebecca said...

Interesting - this is a different species than the one that goes by the name wild ginger in Ohio. Ours is Asarum canadense, I believe.

JSK said...

I suspect many plants go under the common name Wild Ginger and refer to different genera and species - which is why the scientific names are so important.
I'm a little envious. Asarum canadense has such a pretty flower compared with Hexastylis arifolia but we have what we have and I'm glad to have found so many plants of this one.