Panda face ginger is a rhizomatous clump forming perennial native to China where it grows in low elevation forests. It is a member of the pipe-vine family (Aristolochiaceae) and is not related to true gingers. The evergreen, shiny, heart-shaped leaves may be green or variegated and are about three inches long. The fleshy trumpet-shaped flowers are two inch wide, smell like mushrooms,  and resemble pandas with their black and white coloring. They appear in mid to late spring and are borne at soil level and so are some-what hidden by the leaves. An excellent choice for a woodland garden but also does well in containers.  The genus name, Asarum, is the Latin and Greek name for one of the species. The specific epithet, maximum is the Latin word meaning largest.

Type: Herbaceous perennial

Bloom: Two inch wide black and white fleshy trumpet-shaped flowers produced at ground level in spring

Size: 3-6” H x 8-12” W

Light: Part to deep shade

Soil: Fertile, humusy, moderately moist, well-drained

Hardiness: Zones 7-9

Care: Low maintenance

Pests and Diseases: Slugs

Propagation: Division of rhizomes; seed (must be stratified)

Companion plants: Hosta, trillium, bleeding heart, dutchman’s breeches, ferns

Outstanding Selections:
‘Green Panda’ (Green leaves)
‘Ling Ling’ (Green leaves with silvery green blotches on either side of the midrib)

Photo Credit Wikimedia Commons

By Karen