What Is This?

troutwind(7a SE TN)July 18, 2010

Several years ago I came across a plant growing in the wooded section at the bottom of my My Back Yard. I've never caught it flowering but apparently it does because its multiplied to four plants, two of them a fair distance away from the original.

I don't know if this is a Native species or an example of some type of domestic plant gone wild. It grows in full to dappled shade and never seems to get any bigger than what is shown. I transplanted one of the plants to the front yard in a shade garden nursery bed I just started. Next year will have more beds to take the overflow.

Anyone know what this plant is?

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Carrie B

It looks like an asarum/hexastylis. There are several native and non-native varieties. Yours looks like it could be this one:

Here is a link that might be useful: H. arifolia

    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 7:51AM
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Yes, I think it is Hexastylis arifolia, heart-leaved ginger. Also called "little brown jug" because the flowers (which are at ground level and pollinated by ants) look like little jugs. It's a fun plant to show to kids in the spring when the flowers can be found by pulling back any dead leaves that are covering them.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 11:14AM
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troutwind(7a SE TN)

I checked Hexastylis arifolia on Google and agree with both of you, its HF without a doubt. the location of its flowers explains why I never noticed them.

Thank you both for the help. This is a lot like having a reference library at your fingertips and I love it.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 7:33PM
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Depending on the exact type, some can continue to increase the clump size by producing more and more leaves. I have seen clumps with 25 or more leaves, and they are stunning. A few critters do like to munch on them, so often clump sizes remain small.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2010 at 7:39AM
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I have a couple of really big clumps in a "garden" setting where they get optimal morning sun. Occasionally, the deer eat them. But then they put out new leaves, if not that year then for the next year.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2010 at 11:34AM
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Hi troutwind,
I don't know exactly where in TN you are located but this is probably Hexastylis arifolia var. ruthii. There are three varieties of this species each with slight variances in flower shape. The var. ruthii for me makes the most beautiful clumps of the three. These all bloom very early in spring and as someone stated you will have to move the leaves to see the little brown jugs. Start checking in mid March through early May to find the flowers. Regards,

    Bookmark   July 25, 2010 at 10:13PM
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troutwind(7a SE TN)

I'm looking forward to next spring so get a look at the flowers. I have one clump (pictured) in a garden setting and hope it will do well. I plan to get some photos of the flowers.

Once again thanks for all the information.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2010 at 6:03PM
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