Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Acuminate Wild-ginger - Asarum acuminatum   (Ashe) Bicknell
Members of Aristolochiaceae:
Members of Asarum with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 4 » Family Aristolochiaceae
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Author(Ashe) Bicknell
DistributionThis is a controversial recent split from A. canadense; A. reflexum was also split out at the same time. All three taxa occur in the state, but A. acuminatum is believed to be very rare to rare -- Weakley's (2018) map shows it as "rare" -- and found only in the Mountains and foothills. Only three collection records are known in NC at the present time, though certainly it must occur elsewhere in the western part of the state.

Weakley (2018) says the range is "Mainly west of the Blue Ridge (but eastwards in, for instance, Polk County, NC), distribution unclear at this time".
AbundanceAs the NCNHP does not have A. acuminatum in its database, the website editors have assigned a Watch List state status for it -- [W7] = rare and poorly known. The editors have also assigned a State Rank of S1?, suggesting that it is likely quite rare in the state, with possibly fewer than five locations.
HabitatWeakley (2018) says "Rich deciduous forests". As Polk County has numerous areas of Basic Mesic Forest and Rich Cove Forest habitats, it is suspected to occur over circumneutral soils in the NC range.
PhenologyBlooms in April and May, and fruits soon after blooming.
IdentificationAs with the other two Asarum species, it has two rounded, cordate, deciduous, medium-green and thin leaves, often wider than long, growing very close to the ground. The brown to maroon flower grows at the base of the leaves at ground level, but in this taxon the three calyx lobes are very long and attenuated, averaging around 1 inch long and either erect or ascending (and not spreading or reflexed). The calyx tube (base of the flower) is about 2/3-inch long or tall, larger (deeper) than is the cup of the similar A. canadense (strict sense). Obviously, the flowers will need to be seen and examined by biologists to sort out the three species, but this rarity in NC has the flowers larger in size, with each of the calyx lobes an inch long or more.
Taxonomic CommentsMost references do not recognize this species, even as a subspecies or variety; NatureServe does not. As this website follows Weakley's (2018) taxonomic treatment, it is given species status here.

Other Common Name(s)Long-tailed Wild-ginger
State Rank[S1?]
Global RankGNR
State Status[W7]
US Status
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