One of the wild gingers that consistently sails through our winters without a blemish is the shockingly hardy, Asarum crassum. Asarum crassum is endemic to two small uninhabited islands off the south coast of Japan, Ucchima and Ujimukaeshima. Where they grow in the wild, the temperature never freezes, so, why are they so winter hardy? The answer lies further back in history, when the islands were part of the active volcanic Ring of Fire. Some plants originated when the islands were much higher (and colder) than they are today, while other plants were brought to these island by moving wildlife, where they evolved into new species due to isolation (speciation). Because of its tropical origin, it flowers year round. The flowers are pointed downward, making it easier for pollinators like pill bugs and tiny flies, to find the flowers.

This is why garden trials are critical, since plant explorers can’t always tell where a plant will thrive based on its known origin in human times. (Hardiness 7b-10, probably much colder.)

Asarum crassum ‘Green Glass’

Asarum crassum ‘Green Glass’ flowers

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