Lakes & Rivers
Wild Ginger is a native North
American perennial found growing in moist rich soils in shady woodlands
on Vancouver Island. It prefers a rich moist neutral to acid soil in
a shady woodland setting.
The large heart or kidney shaped leaves are hairy, dark green and deeply
indented at the stem they grow in opposite pairs to a height of about 20 to 30cm.
Deep bowl shaped flowers grow at the base, between the leaf stems, it is single
short stemmed and hairy outside and seems to split open into three outwardly
folded petals, flowers bloom from March to May.
The root is a long rhizome, it is light green and tender, when crushed it has
a strong antiseptic smell. As its name
indicates, wild ginger tastes like the Asian ginger found in grocery
stores. However, it is more bitter and therefore judged unpleasant by some. It
is eaten raw, dried or powdered.
An aromatic oil is extracted from wild
ginger and used in recipes. Many claim that it is best in candied
form. The syrup obtained during the preserving process is delicious on pie or