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European wild ginger
Flower and emerging spring leaves on a specimen from the Schwäbisch-Fränkischer Forest in Germany
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Magnoliids
Order: Piperales
Family: Aristolochiaceae
Genus: Asarum
Species: A. europaeum
Binomial name
Asarum europaeum

Asarum europaeum, commonly known as Asarabacca, European Wild Ginger, Haselwort, and Wild Spikenard, is a species of wild ginger with single axillary dull purple flowers, lying on the ground. It is widespread across Europe, ranging from southern Finland and northern Russia south to southern France, Italy and the Republic of Macedonia. It is also grown extensively outside of its range as an ornamental.

The stems are 10-15 cm long. The leaves are petiolate and reniform and about 10 cm wide. It occurs mostly in deciduous woodland or coniferous forests, especially in calcareous soils. There are two recognised subspecies other than the type, including A. europaeum ssp. caucasicum, which is confined to the southwestern Alps, and A. europaeum ssp. italicum, which is found in central and northern Italy as well as in the Crna Gora mountains in former Jugoslavia. In former days, it was used in snuff and also medicinally as an emetic and cathartic. It is quite shade-tolerant and is often employed as a ground cover in gardens where little else will grow.



The plant is a perennial and has prostrate stems that each bear 2 reniform (i.e. kidney-shaped) leaves with long petioles. The upper surface of the leaves is shiny and they have a pepper-like taste and smell. There are also 2 to 3 stipules present that occur in two rows opposite each other on the stem. the flowers are solitary, terminal and nodding. The flower tube is composed of fused tepals that ends with 3 petal-like projections that are brownish towards their ends and dark purple toward the centre. There are 12 stamens present. The flowers emerge in the late winter and spring.[1]

Distribution and habitat

Asarum europaeum has a wide distribution in Europe. It ranges from southern Finland and northern Russia south to southern France, Italy, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republic of Macedonia. It is absent from the British Isles and Scandinavia with the exception of southern Finland, and also from northwestern Germany[1] and the Netherlands. Within Europe, the plant is grown outside of its range in the United Kingdom, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and the Netherlands.[2]


  1. ^ a b (German) Schmeil, Otto; Fitschen, Jost; Seybold, Siegmund (2006). Flora von Deutschland, 93. Auflage. Wiebelsheim: Quelle & Meyer Verlag. p. 190. ISBN 3-494-01413-2.  
  2. ^ Tutin, T.G.; V. H. Heywood; N. A. Burges; D. H. Valentine; S. M. Walters; D. A. Webb, ed. "Asarum europaeum". Flora Europaea. Cambridge University Press.  

External links



Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies

Asarum europaeum


Classification System: APG II (down to family level)

Main Page
Cladus: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiospermae
Ordo: Piperales
Familia: Aristolochiaceae
Subfamilia: Asaroideae
Genus: Asarum
Species Asarum europaeum
Subspecies: A. e. subsp.  caucasicum - A. e. subsp.  europaeum


Asarum europaeum L., Spl Pl. 1:442. 1753.


  • USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN) [Online Database]. [1]

Vernacular names

العربية: أسارون
Català: Atzarí
Српски / Srpski: Копитњак
Dansk: Almindelig Hasselurt
Deutsch: Gewöhnliche Haselwurz
Esperanto: Azaro
Français: Asaret d'Europe
Hornjoserbsce: Europski smólnik
Magyar: Kapotnyak
Nederlands: Mansoor
Polski: Kopytnik pospolity
Română: Popilnic
Русский: Копытень европейский
Slovenčina: Kopytník európsky
Suomi: Taponlehti
Svenska: Hasselört
Türkçe: Avşar otu, Çobandüdüğü, Meyhaneci otu
Українська: Копитняк європейський
Wikimedia Commons For more multimedia, look at Asarum europaeum on Wikimedia Commons.


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