Image: Mike Habeck
Wild Ginger is a spring wildflower with heart-shaped leaves that persist well into late summer and early fall, and sometimes last until replaced by new foliage in the spring. Wild Ginger often occurs in large, dense ground-hugging colonies consisting of hundreds of plants. This is not the same species whose roots are sold as a seasoning in grocery stores, but the taste and aroma of wild ginger roots are similar and apparently it is sometimes used as a substitute. This is not a good idea. Wild Ginger contains aristolochic acids, which appear to cause serious health effects.