Asarum caudatum (ass-a-rum: ancient Greek name for some plant; caw-day-tum: tailed)
Calyx brownish purple, with 3 long-tailed lobes 1–3″ long [2–8 cm]; no petals; 12 stamens ± fused to the pistil; flower single on a prostrate short stalk under the paired basal leaves; leaves heart-shaped, 2–5″ long [5–12 cm], finely hairy, spicy-aromatic, rather firm and often persistent in winter, on hairy 2–8″ [5–20 cm] leafstalks.
Habitat: Moist deep forest at low to mid-elevations, more abundant coastally; WA, OR, ID, MT, BC.
Natural History: This odd plant we call wild ginger is unrelated to ginger, and even the tangy fragrance isn’t really close to ginger’s, yet its stems found favor
This article and photo are adapted from Northwest Mountain Wildflowers, an app for iPhone and iPod.