Asarum canadense - L.
Canada Wild Ginger
Other English Common Names: Canadian Wild Ginger
Other Common Names: Canadian wildginger
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Asarum canadense L. (TSN 18353)
French Common Names: asaret du Canada
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.159592
Element Code: PDARI02020
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Birthwort Family
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Aristolochiales Aristolochiaceae Asarum
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
Concept Reference Code: B94KAR01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Asarum canadense
Taxonomic Comments: Recognized as a distinct species by Kartesz (1999) and most or all other authors. Kartesz does not recognize varieties within this species; the varieties acuminatum, ambiguum, canadense, and reflexum have sometimes been recognized.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 13Jul2015
Global Status Last Changed: 09Feb1984
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Reasons: This species is has a very broad range in eastern North America and is frequently encountered in a wide variety of wooded habitats across its range. At present, collection pressure does not seem to be a major concern, however as with most herbs of medicinal value future changes in the market may put increased pressure on this species (Suggs pers. comm.).
Nation: United States
National Status: N5
Nation: Canada
National Status: N5 (25Oct2017)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Alabama (SNR), Arkansas (SNR), Connecticut (SNR), Delaware (S1), District of Columbia (SNR), Georgia (SNR), Illinois (S3?), Indiana (SNR), Iowa (S5), Kansas (S3), Kentucky (S5), Louisiana (S1), Maine (S1S2), Maryland (SNR), Massachusetts (SNR), Michigan (SNR), Minnesota (SNR), Mississippi (S3), Missouri (SNR), Nebraska (SNR), New Hampshire (SNR), New Jersey (SNR), New York (S5), North Carolina (S5), North Dakota (SNR), Ohio (SNR), Oklahoma (SNR), Pennsylvania (S5), South Carolina (SNR), South Dakota (S2), Tennessee (SNR), Vermont (SNR), Virginia (S5), West Virginia (S5), Wisconsin (SNR)
Canada Alberta (SU), Manitoba (S3S4), New Brunswick (S4), Ontario (S5), Quebec (S4)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Eastern North America (Kartesz, 1999), from the Gaspe Peninsula in southern Quebec (Labrecque pers. comm.); west to southeastern Manitoba (Punter pers. comm.), disjunct to mountains of western Manitoba (Punter pers. comm.), eastern South Dakota (Ode pers. comm.), eastern Kansas (Freeman pers. comm.); south to Louisiana (USDA-NRCS 1999), north-central Alabama (Schotz pers. comm.); east to the mountains of Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina.

Number of Occurrences: 81 to >300
Number of Occurrences Comments: It is likely that several hundred to thousands of populations exist rangewide. Alabama: 40 to 50; Connecticut: >20; Indiana: thousands; Kansas: 30 to 50; Massachusetts: >20; Maryland: hundreds; Maine: 5; North Carolina: 50-100 on USFS lands (Kauffman pers. comm.); New Hampshire: >20; Rhode Island: 1; South Carolina: 8+; South Dakota: 2; Tennessee: 58+; Vermont: thousands; Manitoba: 30 to 40; Quebec: >100 (Brumback and Mehrhoff 1996, APSU 1999).

Since this is such a common species throughout much of its range, these numbers can only be estimates. Additional information on species distribution and the number of populations can be gleaned from county occurrence dot maps (USDA-NRCS 1999).

Population Size Comments: Number of individuals per population is highly variable, from 100 to the thousands (Ode pers. comm., Kauffman pers. comm., Labrecque pers. comm.). The unit of counting is clumps (clonal patches).

Overall Threat Impact Comments: There is evidence, obtained from a reliable source, that collection from wild populations is occurring for the plant trade in Tennessee, North Carolina, South Dakota, and Manitoba.

There is virtually no existing market for this species at the national level, and hence it is apparently only sold regionally (Blakley pers. comm.). The first wildcrafting collection permit for this species for USDA Forest Service lands in North Carolina was in May 1999 (Kauffman pers. comm.). There is speculation of some low-level collection within Indian-owned parcels in South Dakota (Ode pers. comm.) and there is some low-level collection by native Americans in Manitoba (Punter pers. comm.). In Tennessee, this plant is collected from the wild and sold as nursery stock (Warren Co. Nursery). Most or all material on the market is from wildcrafted sources (Blakley pers. comm., Fletcher pers. comm.).

According to Kauffman (pers. comm.), there was a 1999 permit was for 250 pounds dry weight from the Black Mountains of North Carolina -- this amount may not have been met by actual collection. A large dealer in herbs based in the southern Appalachians sold 5,000-6,000 lbs. (dry) in 1999 (Fletcher pers. comm.).

A person knowledgable about the herbal medicinal trade says that the plant receives moderate use (M. McGuffin pers. comm.). The root is used.

As with all native forest herbs, habitat conversion and urban/rural development are significant direct threats (Homoya pers. comm., Pittman pers. comm., Kunsman pers. comm., Pearson pers. comm., Frye pers. comm., Freeman pers. comm.). Equally significant threats include habitat fragmentation and displacement by exotic species (Homoya pers. comm., Penskar pers. comm., Frye pers. comm., Enser pers. comm.). This species and its habitat are vulnerable to grazing and trampling by free-range cattle in portions of its range (Ode pers. comm.). Locally, limestone quarrying is one of the development pressures on this species given its affinity for limestone substrate (Labrecque pers. comm.).

Short-term Trend Comments: Global trends are unknown. Numerous respondents felt that this species is declining somewhat due to development pressure in certain portions of its range (Punter pers. comm., Schotz pers. comm., Labrecque pers. comm.). It is deemed stable in Kansas (Freeman pers. comm.). Monitoring would be necessary in order to determine whether species is stable or declining.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: Eastern North America (Kartesz, 1999), from the Gaspe Peninsula in southern Quebec (Labrecque pers. comm.); west to southeastern Manitoba (Punter pers. comm.), disjunct to mountains of western Manitoba (Punter pers. comm.), eastern South Dakota (Ode pers. comm.), eastern Kansas (Freeman pers. comm.); south to Louisiana (USDA-NRCS 1999), north-central Alabama (Schotz pers. comm.); east to the mountains of Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina.

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AL, AR, CT, DC, DE, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, SC, SD, TN, VA, VT, WI, WV
Canada AB, MB, NB, ON, QC

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
DE New Castle (10003)
LA West Feliciana (22125)
ME Aroostook (23003), Cumberland (23005)*, Franklin (23007)*, Kennebec (23011), Oxford (23017)*, Somerset (23025), York (23031)*
MS Carroll (28015), Chickasaw (28017), Choctaw (28019), Clay (28025), Copiah (28029)*, Hinds (28049), Jasper (28061), Monroe (28095), Noxubee (28103), Oktibbeha (28105), Pontotoc (28115), Smith (28129), Tippah (28139), Tishomingo (28141), Union (28145), Wayne (28153), Winston (28159)
SD Marshall (46091), Roberts (46109)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
01 Upper St. John (01010001)+, Fish (01010003)+*, Aroostook (01010004)+, Lower Kennebec (01030003)+, Lower Androscoggin (01040002)+*, Presumpscot (01060001)+*, Saco (01060002)+*, Piscataqua-Salmon Falls (01060003)+*
02 Brandywine-Christina (02040205)+, Chester-Sassafras (02060002)+
03 Upper Tombigbee (03160101)+, Town (03160102)+, Tibbee (03160104)+, Noxubee (03160108)+, Upper Chickasawhay (03170002)+, Upper Leaf (03170004)+, Lower Leaf (03170005)+, Middle Pearl-Strong (03180002)+
06 Pickwick Lake (06030005)+, Bear (06030006)+
07 Upper Minnesota (07020001)+
08 Upper Hatchie (08010207)+, Little Tallahatchie (08030201)+, Upper Yazoo (08030206)+, Lower Big Black (08060202)+, Bayou Pierre (08060203)+*, Bayou Sara-Thompson (08070201)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: A low, clonal, stemless perennial herb; leaves are heart-shaped and velvety-pubescent. Flowers are close to the ground, and vary in color from green to brown or maroon.
Habitat Comments: This species is found in upland rich woods, typically higher pH soils and associated with calcareous rock outcrops or rich soils (Rock pers. comm., Ode pers. comm., Schafale pers. comm.); it is also found in high-nutrient, rich coves in mountains of the Carolinas and Tennessee, and is often underlain by mafic rock in western North Carolina (Kauffman pers. comm.). Associate species often include sugar maple or basswood or rarely white or red oak (Young pers. comm.). In the northern portions of its range, associates can also include aspen, balsam poplar and elm (Punter pers. comm.). This species is occasionally found in regenerating deciduous woodlands.
Economic Attributes
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Economically Important Genus: Y
Commercial Importance: Indigenous crop
Economic Uses: FOOD, MEDICINE/DRUG
Production Method: Cultivated, Wild-harvested
Economic Comments: The plant is used as an alternative to Acorus as a thickener.

Prices for this species were found as follows:

Northeast U.S., nursery: $3-4/whole plant

Central Tennessee, nursery: $0.40/bare root whole plant (collected from wild, sold in bundles of 50)

Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: This species typically forms distinct colonies that are easily delineated, however it will occasionally have sporadic, solitary clumps in less than ideal habitat. It occurs in distinct, fragmented forested areas in Alabama, South Dakota, North Carolina, Quebec and Manitoba (Kauffman pers. comm., Schotz pers. comm., Punter pers. comm., Labrecque pers. comm.).
Date: 03Jan2000
Author: Boetsch, J.R.
Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 03Jan2000
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: John R. Boetsch (1/00); rev. Eric Nielsen (1/00)

Botanical data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs), The North Carolina Botanical Garden, and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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  • APSU Center for Field Biology and University of Tennessee Herbarium. 1999. October 6-last update. Atlas of Tennessee Vascular Plants. Online. Available: http://www.bio.utk.edu/botany/herbarium/vascular/atlas.html. Accessed 2000-Jan.

  • Brumback, W.E., and L.J. Mehrhoff. 1996. Flora Conservanda: New England. The New England Plant Conservation Program list of plants in need of conservation. Rhodora 98 (895): 235-361.

  • Cody, W.J. 1982. A comparison of the northern limits of distribution of some vascular plant species found in southern Ontario. Le Naturaliste Canadien 109: 63-90.

  • Flora of North America Editorial Committee. 1997. Flora of North America north of Mexico. Vol. 3. Magnoliophyta: Magnoliidae and Hamamelidae. Oxford Univ. Press, New York. xxiii + 590 pp.

  • Flora of North America Editorial Committee. 1997. Flora of North America, North of Mexico. Magnoliophyta: Magnoliidae and Hamamelidae. Volume 3. Oxford University Press, New York.

  • Herbarium, Department of Botany, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

  • Herbarium, Museum of Man and Nature, 190 Rupert Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.

  • Kelly, L.M. 2001. Taxonomy of Asarum section Asarum (Aristolochiaceae). Systematic Botany 26(1): 17,26-29.

  • Marshall, H.H. 1989. Pembina Hills Flora. Morden and District Museum Inc., Morden MB.

  • Punter, E. 1994. Inventory and annotated checklist of the vascular plants of the Manitoba Model Forest. Project 93-2-6.

  • Scoggan, H.J. 1957. Flora of Manitoba. National Museum of Canada, Bulletin number 140.

  • Scoggan, H.J. 1978. The Flora of Canada. National Museum of Natural Sciences, National Museum of Canada, Publ. in Botany 7(4).

  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service. 1999. November 3-last update. The PLANTS database. Online. Available: http://plants.usda.gov/plants. Accessed 2000-Jan.

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